Monday, June 20, 2011

Palm Tree Practice, Oil Plein Air

Lone Palm, 6x6" oil
      This palm stands alone in a nearby park and is in perfect viewing distance from a cool, shade pavilion.  Great place to practice palm painting technique.  Focused on how light hit the leaves, cool on top reflecting the sky and yellow green where the sun filtered through.  Good excuse to use orange and burnt sienna in the dead leaves for contrast which always works well with greens.  Left a lot of the magenta underpainting show through.  Pumped up the bright yellow green on the grass.  Left the background simple and faded to help the palm tree stand out.  
      Painting "what we see" would render the scene as a photo would.  Painting what we see along with "what we know" is what makes a painting a painting.  "What we know" includes painting experience, knowledge of medium and tools, brush and palette knife control, color, form, values, edges, perspective, and influences and inspiration from other artist's work, both contemporary and historic.  Conditions change rapidly while painting outside, and the best that can be achieved is an impression, a fleeting image and feeling of a moment in time.  That's what makes plein air painting so exciting and such a challenge.  Gathering everything you know and see,  and fitting that information onto a small panel in a small amount of time.

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