Why paint outdoors if you can paint from a photo? For me, painting outdoors is a direct response to my immediate environment. While I am looking and recording I am also listening and observing the natural world
Come along on this 'Road Trip' to the National Park in PEI and be part of the process! Elaine, my friend, photographed the process and helped me carry my supplies to the beach.
Many daily painters paint on 6x6" or 8x8" panels. But on this beautiful June morning,
I wanted to try a large canvas (16x36"). After setting up my french easel, I took a minute to do a quick sketch in my sketchbook. Thinking about the composition before I paint helps me to focus and also to memorize the scene. I am looking at the chain of dunes, the sand, the energy of the waves and the light of the sky on the seascape.
The canvas has been primed at home with a layer of gesso tinted with orange.
This takes away the glare of the white canvas and provides a mid ground tone from
which to begin.
A few strokes in burnt umber help me place the dunes, cloud and shoreline. I realize I have forgotten my paint thinner. This could be a crisis. Do I go home and pick it up or depend on my Liquin and change brushes. I decide the liquin will work and good
brush cleaning seems to do the job. ( I always forget something even though I prepack my knapsack. I think it is a test in resourcefulness!)
Halfway point. Time to step back, assess and and rehydrate.
Two hours have passed. The painting is coming together. I feel I can leave the location and finish it at home or leave it as is. Fortunately, two days later I was able return to this spot at the same time of day and finish the foreground and the waves. It is tricky to go back into a painting and not repaint the whole scene. Less is more!
Painting outdoors, on location (en plein air) gives me enormous pleasure and I learn so much from direct observation.
Time to head home. Another happy painting day. The french easel supports the canvas on the way home.
June Shoreline 18x36"
Final painting, for viewing and for sale at the Art Shack, 18 Broadway Rd. Hope River, PEI.