Monday, July 20, 2015

Farther Along

FARTHER ALONG, 16x20" oil, ©Diane Mannion

Field Study to Plein Air and Back Again
Revised 7/22/15

Painted this from the small sketch on the previous post, studio block in, then painted on location.  Then back to the studio... then back to location where it was soaked with a sudden downpour.  The linen shrunk on the stretcher but will be fine after restretching.  

I paint faster and looser on location but tend to tighten up in the studio.  This was scrapped and repainted many times in the middle grassy section.  I'm torn between the tonalist and colorist style and striving for some place in the middle.

When doing field studies, it's not possible to record everything!  And when working from photo reference, the camera lies,  perspective is flattened and wonky, colors dull or wildly out of whack.  

A lot must depend on visual memory, even when standing on the spot.  It's a challenge to include or simply suggest only necessary details... not every darn blade of grass, which is the trap I fell into here.

Every painting's a learning experience!  Although this was difficult and I'm not thrilled with it... I'm looking forward to going back to the same spot and starting another version... pushing my painting skills farther along.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Farther Along, Sketch

Farther Along, Sketch, 9x12" oil, plein air, ©Diane Mannion

Beach Trail

Caspersen Beach,  Venice again... farther along the trail there's a great spot where the sun sends shadows across the beach early in the morning.  It's impossible to paint fast enough to capture this explosion of light and color.  Took photos with an excellent camera but it doesn't come close what eyes can see.
This is a quick study for a larger painting... will be going back for more! 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Turn Around

Turn Around, 9x12" oil, ©Diane Mannion


Caspersen Beach, Venice, Florida

Even when painting early in summer, it's important to find shade!  This often limits the choice of scenic spots.  But it's amazing how a place usually overlooked will begin to work when you look around long enough.  I had first thought to paint the scene behind me, but the way the light fell across the road in front of me became the subject.
Here's my Strada Mini with a car sunscreen attached with bulldog clips.  Even though I have a painting umbrella, I'm getting ready to travel without it.  The screen folds and fits into my backpack.  Although I was painting in the shade, sun dapples fell across my panel and the screen worked well blocking them out.  It's also a useful device to hang beneath the easel to block glare.  
Location stage of the painting before studio adjustments.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Dune Flowers

Dune Flowers, 9x12" oil, ©Diane Mannion

While I Was Painting

Sat on the beach for an hour early in the morning and painted a little study for this.  Loved the shadows and color but a phone call ended my session.  Painted the larger version in the studio using a lot of color information from the quick study, colors that my camera could not see.  

This is a new approach to plein air painting for me... I usually finish on location.  (All that practice getting ready for two hour quick paint challenges).  Instead, I'm changing the way I work, rather than finishing a painting on the spot, I'm gathering field studies and sketches for larger works.  

It's a relief knowing I'm only a hunter-gatherer of information for later work.  And working more in the studio has made me aware of the information I need to collect for larger paintings when I'm in front of the real thing.  Working in the studio also makes me realize how important it is to get outside and work from life.

The result of this new approach has been for me to slow down.   There's a tendency for a lot of plein air artists to work fast and loose and get locked into a plein air "style."  Although I like how my "style" looks in studies, I want my work to evolve to a more considered and polished level.  Artists should never stop growing, anyway!
Here's the one hour field study for Dune Flowers.
Dune Flowers Study, 4x8" oil, plein air, ©Diane Mannion

My friend, Sharon Yarbrough sent me this quote that says it all!

Plein-air paintings are life, and without them the rest of my work would die. Without it, I would have nothing to say in the studio, because without real-life experience, art is impossible. (Scott Burdick)

The phone call that ended this painting session was of the sudden, instant, and unexpected death of my husband's friend.  Although I hadn't met him yet, he had agreed to let me paint him sitting on the beach.  The painting would have been Summer Santa.  During the holidays, he worked as Mr Claus.  

While I was painting...

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tide Pool

Tide Pool, 9x12" oil, plein air, ©Diane Mannion

Caspersen Beach, Venice

Thought it would be a good idea to practice painting rocks for my trip to Maine later this month, and Venice rocks never disappoint.  Rocks are not easy to find on Floridian beaches!  This morning there was also a colorful addition of red-orange seaweed.  
Painted from 7:30am to about 10:00am before the heat set in.  Pleasant breeze, two snorkelers and a dolphin swam by.  Had my camera ready when a great blue heron walked through this tidal pool... will definitely be the star a larger studio version.  And by the time my friend and I left, the seaweed had turned dark brown.  Wonderful morning!