What is your idea of a perfect day? If you’re like me, you have several images of a perfect day. A day at the beach while sitting under an umbrella, reading a book; At the lake, riding on a boat, going fast with the wind in my hair – at sunset; sitting in front of a fire while snow is falling, drinking hot chocolate, and crocheting. Lots of goodness – lots of moments.
Last week, I had a Perfect Day!
Painting outdoors takes courage! GUTS, I tell ya! A long time ago I took a class at Arrowmont and we painted plein air everyday for two weeks, but that was in the anonymity of a group. I was able to get way off the path so no one would come talk to me (or look over my shoulder!). People are just curious and don’t mean any harm. If anything they offer words of encouragement. But you know, PAINTING IS A PROCESS! It can look pretty bad before it looks good.
So, this day I also found a place way off the trail, set up my things and got down to it. Something happens when you get into the zone. A lot of you know what I’m talking about, right? But this time I was very distracted by the possibility of this. BEARS! They can be scary! Oil paints are VERY aromatic and bears are hungry and curious. In the class I mentioned before, one of the students had her easel and a trash bag full of smelly rags ripped to shreds by a bear who was trying to see if turpentine and linseed oil are edible. Turns out they aren’t, but it was a fright to watch a large black furry critter, with teeth and claws, figure that out. The bears are alarming, but they are nothing compared to a HUMAN approaching from behind saying, “hmmmmm, what is it?”
Things begin to take shape. First a simple outline followed by glazing the canvas to get rid of the white. This provides some luminescence behind your work while covering any white areas so they don’t show through later. After that you find your range of values, the darkest and lightest areas. Finally, you use color to transform a 2 dimensional drawing into a 3 dimensional representative painting.
At this point the sun found me (notice the glare on wet paint). It was HOT!!!! so I packed it all up and headed back home to work indoors on all the finishing touches. I will leave you with the painting as it was (and still is now, by the way) at the end of the day. Keep in mind, this is a work in progress – not a finished painting.
I have more work to do, but I’m pleased with the beginning. After writing this post it makes me want to get up in the studio and get it finished so check back soon.
Thanks for joining me on my Perfect Day, and I’d love to hear what your favorite day would be.