It’s November, and I’m back at Seawind Meadows, in Dennis. Lucky to have a chance to paint Nicky enjoying a pumpkin breakfast this close!
I decided to focus on the cattle and not a full landscape today.
Focusing on only what was in front of me gave me a chance to have fun painting the cattle. The stone wall and tree trunks were added at the beginning for color notes and composition. I believe this study breaks the rules “two trees, two cattle odd numbers.. etc.. funny how that happens!! Thank you! Catherine
My husband Philip is also the person who started me on my plein air journey…
On a trip traveling through the beautiful state of Vermont, Philip and I stopped along Lake Champlain. The view was amazing… Philip set up his easel and surprised me by setting up a pochade box on the picnic table for me. He said “don’t over think it, just have fun!” (smile).
Before I knew it, Philip started patiently and methodically cleaning his palette, he was in his element, outdoors and calm. In a short time, he had completed an amazing painting… Looking at my painting and looking at Philip’s, I didn’t feel intimidated, I felt exhausted, two hours had slipped by unnoticed… I was hooked. I wanted to learn everything I could about plein air painting.
I love coming across that painting. I will never rework or finish it. Some paintings like the one I painted that day are becoming my “travel journal” in oils. That day in Vermont, we painted together for the first time, and we still are… and this week we will be celebrating our sixth wedding anniversary!
I’m glad I found the courage to paint that day and catch “plein air fever” from Philip! -Catherine
“Courage is the most important of all virtues, because without courage, you cannot practice any of the other virtues consistently”. Maya Angelou
This year, one of my plein air painting goals is to try to work out of my “archive box” of unfinished paintings. To be able to say “TA-DA!” (smile). These paintings, for one reason or another, I brought home unfinished, they have potential… learning potential.
So, this year, before I revisit a plein air location, I riffle through my archive box of unfinished paintings, looking for one from the same location.
As I spray the painting with retouch varnish I ask myself what I liked about the painting and how I might improve it. I don’t concern myself with the weather or season changes… only to attempt to improve the painting.
Out of Archive Box came the Jonathan Young Windmill in Orleans.
Above is the painting I brought home September 2014.
Here is the painting after I reworked it yesterday, June 2015. It still might need work, but hopefully you’ll agree I improved it!
I find that being able to finish a painting in 2-3 hours outdoors is an amazing accomplishment. Until I can get myself up to that speed, this practice is the next best thing! -Catherine
Here is my new Strada Easel and Kelty Redwing Pack. I love them, (a birthday present from my wonderful husband, Philip!). Click here to go to Strada Easel. The Kelty Redwing 44 Pack is recommended by Strada and they know what they are talking about. The pack is great and fits everything I need. Many thanks to Orleans Camera for helping me find the right tripod. Click here to go to Orleans Camera.
A spray with retouch varnish and I’m going to give this July scene another try. Even though this morning is barely 50º (degrees).
I wanted to use My Art Cocoon wet paint carrier with my Strada Easel. Since this wet paint carrier is wider than the easel’s metal support bracket, I wrapped a small bungee around the My Art Cocoon and the Strada cavas holder. Back to front.
The bungee hooks held nicely to the metal bracket at the top of the easel. I was able to paint and then carry my painting in my pack without any mishaps!
It’s hard to believe that at 6:30 a.m., the temperature is 39º this late in April! Being an optimist, I thought to myself, “if it were early March, I’d be thinking it was a pretty nice day!” The good news is that the blooms on the magnolia tree are a sign that spring is here!
After toning my 12 x 12 canvas panel, I decided to start painting the negative space with some sky color in the distance.
I’m only going to work with a few colors and hope I get a nice feeling.
I wanted to paint a group of blossoms with only a scattering showing details.
Toning my canvas is something I don’t always do. I did today and I like the way I could map out the light and dark areas for my composition.
I did have a mishap this morning… It was windy, and I didn’t take the time to weigh down my easel (you know where this is going!). After I picked up my stuff, and brushed off the sand and grass, it was time to pack up. The blossoms with have to be added another day. But, this was a great morning!
There is a bonus to raising hens that lay different colored eggs, especially in April, and my first painting class with Maryalice Eizenberg, at the Creative Arts Center in Chatham, was also in April (2010).
My husband Philip emptied and cleaned a few eggs from our chickens, Molly (brown egg) and Fiona (blue egg), so I could bring them to class hoping the eggshells could be part of a still life.
Maryalice set up this sweet still life. A soft, stuffed, ducking in a straw basket, surrounded by yellow marshmallow “Peeps”, jelly beans, and my real eggshells. I hope the eggshells survived and are still being used in setting up still lifes at the art center! Fiona is no longer with us, but I still have this sweet painting with her beautiful, blue eggshells. -Catherine
People have asked if there is a polite way to approach a plein air artist while the artist is out painting.
Unless the artist is on a deadline to complete the painting, most artists will welcome your interest in their work. That being said, you can’t possibly know without breaking the artists concentration.
If you want to see the finished painting…
If you would like to see the finished painting, hand the artist your email address and request an image of the completed painting. Most artists will appreciate you being considerate of their work time and happily send you an image, or give you the name of a gallery where the painting will be exhibited. Hope this helps! – Catherine
I want to start adding figures of people to my paintings, but for me, capturing a likeness of someone on a canvas is very difficult.
Today I’m reading a book called “Drawing The Head & Figure” by Jack Hamm. Click here for a link to this book. Being a visual learner, Jack Hamm’s book does it for me. His step-by-step drawings present good visual explanations of the structure of the head & figure and how to draw them.
I have a large sketch pad and am practicing what I learned from this book while watching T.V.. This way I have many opportunities to quickly draw the same face while it is changing expression and direction.
By filling the page with egg shapes and directional markings, I can quickly switch back and forth as the head turns.
This is a view of Mount Whiteface in Waterville Valley, N.H., from The N.H. Lakes Region. I new this would be a painting lesson in pushing the mountain back into the distance, far away from the trees in the snow covered foreground. It was a clear day, and the clouds were casting dark shadows on the mountain range. Not having my painting equipment with me, I snapped this photo and worked on this painting in the studio.
I used the white birches and snow to show foreground, and muted colors in the mountain range to show distance.