It’s not always the case when a plein air is done so quickly and comes together so fast. I’ve learned that is often isn’t the time one puts into these ‘studies’ but it’s more about the feeling that you convey. One of these days I’m going to do a quick secession of small plein air studies, no larger than 5×7 of one scene and see how the light changes, how the strokes change and whatever else comes up. It should be a good time.
This was a quick plein air painted on the capital hill lawn in Salt Lake City, Utah, during the summer of 2014. It was a smoggy day. But I actually enjoyed the haze because it put even the not-so-distant buildings into a veil of pollution– a real treat to paint. It’s interesting to me to view these paintings out of context, away from the actual scene and up next to something completely different…Montana for example.
When I revisit this painting, I’m reminded of my focus and purposeful intention that I aim for when I set out en plein air. My first goal was to simplify, and secondly to make the shapes and my initial drawing more geometric.
It’s usually an adventure whenever you get out to paint. And sometimes the adventure can bring on more than it’s fair share of oddities. While painting this scene, my girlfriend and I noticed a rustling about 300 yards off in the trees. Our eyes found a plain-as-day make-shift camp. We thought it might be a hobo or hermit living out his days in the hills of Montana. Sounds like a good time to me 😉
This plein air was done from the comfort of my own porch here in Montana, close enough to hear the sound of the Jocko river. I enjoy painting super-close to home, and I really enjoy doing monotone studies. I usually have the best intentions of placing color on the scene later, but I find they are simply too beautiful to add anything else to, including more color.
This painting holds special meaning to me. It was the first time that my girlfriend accompanied me plein air painting. It was a super hot day. But she was a great sport and worked on her novel while I slung paint onto panel. Nothing is more enjoyable than getting outside, and being next to a river–having a beautiful woman by your side is simply icing on the cake. We’ve since made many a foray out into the field, especially while it was warm.
For this 5×7 plein air painting, I limited my pallet to: dioxazine purple, a magenta (can’t recall which) and Indian yellow. It was interesting how I could still get a great range of greens, as well as a sky that wasn’t far off from what I was actually seeing. I was able to achieve some really nice harmony, which is usually the case with a limited palette.