Lew’s perilous journey into the wild

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Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
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  • #1931435
    LEWIS MACKENZIELEWIS MACKENZIE
    Participant
    No points.

    I’ve decided I want to master plein air. Can’t be that hard right? What’s the big deal?

    In all seriousness though, I really admire landscape painting, and I would love to make it my bread and butter as a professional artist. I’ve sold quite a few still life paintings in the past, but in all honesty, I’ve never really enjoyed doing them, and never really liked the results. In the studio I can noodle away at things for as long as I want and completely suck the life out of them. Working out in nature appeals to me as a way to force myself into developing more economy in my painting. Plus, if I can get good at it, I might actually produce enough work to make a living.

    So last week I went out and had my first crack at it in several years. And I got my balls well and truly kicked. Painting outside is hard. Even before you get to the “art” bit, just lugging around all that crap and getting set up is a trial in itself. But I achieved my only goal, which was to get out and put brush to canvas.

    The painting below is my benchmark for this challenge. It’s about an hour/hour and a half’s work. It’s not very good, but it’s not as bad as I thought it was at the time. PLENTY of work to do before I’m close to giving Richard Schmid a run for his money though.

    Initially, I’m not going to do that much painting. Rather, I’ll be heading out daily for “life drawing” sessions. That is, a series of timed “poses” in nature, but instead of figures I’ll draw trees, bushes, stuff like that. I’ll try and get at least one painting in a week a well, more as I progress. And I’ll finish reading John Carlson. By the end of 100 days I want to have a at least a 5% chance of painting something halfway worth looking at when I head out. Wish me luck.

    #1933023
    LEWIS MACKENZIELEWIS MACKENZIE
    Participant
    No points.

    DAY 1

    Results of my life-drawing session today.

    #1935430
    JacJac
    Participant
    No points.

    Good luck Lewis, brave to take on plein air this time of the year! I’ll be interested to see how your figure/anatomical work carries over as I’m unsure how much “cross-training” helps my landscapes.  Already, I can’t help but see a certain attentiveness to gesture and form in your 20 min tree sketch. Bodes well I reckon.

    I’ve picked up Carlson’s book too but haven’t got to it yet. You should check out Macpherson’s Landscape Painting Inside and Out, although it is aimed at total beginners like myself.

    Look forward to seeing more.

    #1936725
    LEWIS MACKENZIELEWIS MACKENZIE
    Participant
    No points.

    Thank you Jac! Don’t mistake foolhardiness for bravery though!

     

    #1936739
    LEWIS MACKENZIELEWIS MACKENZIE
    Participant
    No points.

    DAY 2

    Tuesday is when my daughter spends most of the day in nursery, so from now on Tuesday is PLEIN AIR DAY for me. Today I took a drive up to the Campsie Glen Falls and bashed this out.

    I am really happy with it overall. I’m aware of many faults but I think it’s a definite improvement on the last one I posted. I write like the colour, although I think it’s lacking in depth and obviously isn’t finished. But I’m calling it a win nonetheless.

    #1941581
    LEWIS MACKENZIELEWIS MACKENZIE
    Participant
    No points.

    DAY 3

    Attempted tree drawing got rained off, so I say in the car and spent 20 minutes drawing the local shop. Powder was damp today all round 😐

     

    #1942817
    LEWIS MACKENZIELEWIS MACKENZIE
    Participant
    No points.

    DAY 4

    Didn’t manage to get out today, so I figure I would undertake a little struggle session with this painting from Tuesday.

    The first problem I see is a lack of organisation and distinction of the masses. The water forms one light mass; then there is big dark mass formed by the trees and “cliffs”; and then there’s a a very slightly lighter mass made up of the rocks and ground plane, with no clear distinction between the two. I think the big dark mass needs to be broken up into two smaller masses, to distinguish the cliffs from the surrounding trees and vegetation. There also needs to be a greater sense of the ground plane being separate from the slanted plane of the foreground rocks.

     

    Second, while allowing for the painting being unfinished, the trees and vegetation are just an undefined mush. There’s no drawing anywhere to give context to those abstract elements. I think even just one or two clearly drawn trees and branches would indicate to the viewer what all that stuff is meant to mean. I feel like I little bit of sky would have helped too.

     

    Similarly, there’s not enough drawing of the falls to give the sense of the water flowing down from the top of the picture to the centre. This contributes to the overall flatness and lack of depth.

     

    Also contributing to the lack of depth is the fact that the shadows of the foreground rocks are lighter than the cliff shadows. They should be darkest in the foreground.

     

    The composition could do with being cropped narrower, I think. A vertical or square format might be more suitable for this subject and might better allow for the introduction of a little sky cutting down into the glen.

     

    I think I’ll try some thumbnails and see if I can come up with a better design for this picture. Maybe another attempt is in order some time in the future.

    #1942897
    LEWIS MACKENZIELEWIS MACKENZIE
    Participant
    No points.

    #1949760
    LEWIS MACKENZIELEWIS MACKENZIE
    Participant
    No points.

    DAY 5

    I have had a lazy weekend, so picking up again here. Maybe I should have just made this a sketchbook thread rather than a 100 day challenge.

    Anyway, I did some monochrome tree studies in oil today. Not exactly in the plein air spirit, but I figure this is a good way of developing painting strategies when I can’t make it outside to paint. Also, I’m not trying to get colour from the photographs, just drawing and to some extent temperature.

    #1958001
    LEWIS MACKENZIELEWIS MACKENZIE
    Participant
    No points.

    DAY 6

    Plein air painting day! Woo hooo!

    Had lots of fun out painting locally today, and ended up with what I think are a couple of pretty good starts. This first one is a view of some farm building that I spotted yesterday when I was out walking the dog yesterday morning, and and figured would make a sunlight great painting if weather permitted. Sadly, today was a bit too changeable and I only got about 45 minutes in before the rain clouds completely changed the light effect.

    After the above got rained off, I nipped home for some lunch and to grab something to paint on, then headed to the local nature reserve. I spent the afternoon producing this. I am not sure there’s much design going on here, but it looks a decent enough sketch to me, if a bit flat. I was pretty happy at how much I managed to get done in two and a half hours or so anyway. I was attracted to the tree on the left initially, but I didn’t really make it my centrepiece in the end, which I should have. I might return and take this one further, but I think I’m more likely to start a new painting and spend more time designing it around this tree.

    #1959357
    WanderlustWanderlust
    Participant
    No points.

    I’m doing plein air also, at the suggestion of my mentor. And I’m not happy about it, haha. It’s HARD!! Your pieces so far are looking a thousand times better than mine are – yours are beautiful! I look forward to keeping an eye on your thread for inspiration as I regularly have my hat handed to me by nature, lol.

    #1959557
    LEWIS MACKENZIELEWIS MACKENZIE
    Participant
    No points.

    Thanks Savina! I agree, outdoor painting is super difficult. But it’s fun! I just try not to be disappointed if my efforts aren’t great – it’s all part of learning, and I treat them as studies or practise pieces. I love your fairytale pictures, btw!

     

    DAY 7

    No studies or paintings today, but I managed to get a couple of these canvas pad pages masked up in preparation for my colour charts. Each sheet will have two charts, with 12 colour mixes in each chart, stepped down in 5 values. I use 12 colours (plus white) and there will be 13 charts in total. It’s something I should have done years ago, and it’s time to stop putting it off.

    #1961401
    LEWIS MACKENZIELEWIS MACKENZIE
    Participant
    No points.

    DAY 8

    I finished masking up the sheets and made a start on this first chart. This one is made up of tints of all the colours. Each column has the pure colour at the top followed by four tints below of increasing value up to near white. Each subsequent chart will have a dominant colour; the first column will be another value scale of just that colour + white, whereas the other columns will have a value scale of that colour mixes with a small amount of each other colour.   I’m going to try to do one chart per day, but it’s pretty labour intensive, so if I can can get three or four done a week I’ll be happy enough.

     

Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)

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