Monday, April 4, 2011

Plein Air- Some Experiential Notes

My experiences and learnings out of Plein Air :

I have been doing Plein air painting/ sketching on and off . Last few weekends have been especially dedicated to Plein air. Some notes:

Some salient points:
1) Ability to zero down on the exact view to paint. Once you are out in the open, its extremely confusing to decide what should be your "painting panorama".

2) Perspective: its challenging to keep the same perspective through out the painting as a slight movement can change it and confound the drawing.

3) Onlookers: they are fun but can create a bit of disturbance at times and harm your concentration. So one needs to choose to be a bit monosyllabic!

4) Disturbances: Moving objects , especially in streetscapes can be very disturbing and may change the entire view! Vehicles can suddenly block your view or traffic or anything else. Its good to absorb the original picture in your mind, when you start drawing. or you could even write down colours or some notes ( e.g. "chairs upturned", inside a restaurant, which may be changed once it opens and business begins, as you may be painting the original scene with chairs upturned.)  

5) Changing light: This is a major issue.Be smart to squint and see the values so you can quickly dab the colours in its true values. My last painting was a streetscape and as I was happily painting bright hues reflecting the bold sun, it suddenly grew murky and cloudy!

6) Speed: Its good to be fast and make a blueprint which you can detail on slowly. You can even come back and build on it , if you have written notes that I mentioned about in point 4.

7) Its good to carry a viewfinder and an easel which is easy to carry and fold.  

8) For oil painters, Wet on wet is a good technique for plein air. Using thick paint to paint layers is an option that I found useful if I wanted to finish most of the scene en plein air.

9) Carry sunscreen, a cap, water, sharpeners for your pencils, rags for wiping oil paint and do not forget to close your turpentine and linseed bottles. If it is hot/ rainy, its good to carry an umbrella.

10) Last but not the least do combine your painting with good food and fun in form of other painters to paint with and good music with you!

These are my personal experiences from my few plein air assignments.