Wednesday, May 29, 2013

En Plein Air Painting - Some Successes and Failures

The Deer Place - 6th painting, on brown Colourfix paper, 9x12"
 Next week it's the Canandaigua Plein Air event, and being one of the participants, I have been preparing for it by painting outdoors as much as I can.

Painting outdoors could be fun and easy if you have the right set up and are prepared. With practice, you learn to think on the spot. Very fast you learn to determine what the best composition is, how you are going to handle the masses and the values in the painting, and even where to place your set up. In addition, you learn to foresee the possible questions that passers-by might ask you, so you have an answer ready. 

This year a friend and I have formed a plein air group of sorts. There are 6 of us now, and we have been painting at least once a week in the last month. I'm very happy at the level of commitment we all seem to have.
I'm going to share with you my failures (because that's how it started), and successes of what I have painted on location so far this year.

 First One:
There is no doubt that one gets rusty during the winter months! I really forced myself to paint outdoors and not wanting to go far I decided our orchard was a good place to start. However, for a first attempt, the scene was too complicated and the sun was in front of me. A simplified version or a close up of the flowers would have been better.
1st One on La Carte paper
2nd One: 
This one was painted with the group at Franklin Square. Nice, encouraging atmosphere and wonderful colors. While painting I felt I was nailing the scene down. Back home I was so disheartened!  Could it be that I was painting under too strong a shade? Maybe with some work I could fix it. Or...I could use this as a reference for a larger scene. Well, not all effort is wasted as I really enjoyed that day.
2nd One at Franklin Square, Colourfix paper

 3rd One
This one was done at the Green Bridge, Old Forge, close to noon time with my friend Joann and a friend of hers. The bottom version is how I fixed it back in the studio. I'm still not happy with the tall tree on the right. Wallis board 12x9"

By the Green Bridge, 12 x9" Wallis board

4th One
 These two were done at Labrador Pond with the group. There were so many beautiful scenes but there was vegetation obstructing the view.  It was cloudy but peaceful and the birds were singing.

 After the first one I felt like painting this other view. By switching to Canson paper I automatically felt less pressure: it was going to be a "drawing" more than a painting. This one will be a good reference for a studio version.

5th One
At Green Lakes State Park with the group. There were too many choices to paint but not one of them struck me as great, so I settled for this location under the shade. I consider it "a painting for the sake of painting."

Poison Ivy, Ampersand Pastelbord 12 x 9"

6th One:
It's the one on top, and also from Green Lakes State Park. I fell in love with the place the first time I saw it when the group went scouting for other areas to paint. While painting it, the small bush on the right started to get more and more important with the light hitting just the top.
Here is a pic of my set up, the Art Attack3, which unfortunately is not manufactured any longer by Willow Wisp Farms.

If this post encourages you to paint outdoors, I've done my work!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Overlook, 7x5" - Sold

The Overlook, pastel on board by Adriana Meiss

    I have been painting a lot but almost everything needs still more work to even consider taking pictures of it.  That's why I'm posting this little study which I did for last month's OAG sale. I'm happy that a friend of mine owns it now.
    I'm working on a larger version of it, but as my tendency is to paint night scenes too dark, now I'm at the stage where I have to carefully push the lighter values so that  I don't end up with a dark rectangle on a wall.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Red Pine, 10 x 8"

The Red Pine, pastel on board by Adriana Meiss
   This is a very simplified scene from a very busy reference photo, which had willows and bushes in the background and lots of joe pye weeds in the foreground.

   For some reason I just wanted to paint the crooked pine with the open field behind it. To give it an air of mystery I added the cloudy atmosphere and subdued colors. To me it speaks of comfortable loneliness. I'm interested in knowing how it makes you feel.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Pompey Sunset, 9x12" - A Progression -Sold

Pompey Sunset, pastel on board by Adriana Meiss
This Friday is the opening of the St David Celebration of the Arts, and this is one of my two submissions.

When painting, I often get so immersed in what I'm doing that I forget to take photos of the progress. In this case, I was working with a very dark photo reference which forced me to work slowly and to take shots now and then to see if the painting was working. So, below are the main steps.

1. Getting rid of the white
 1. The main areas were first barely sketched with a light Nupastel. When working on a white board, the first thing I do is to get rid of the white by using broad strokes with the side of the pastel sticks; then I blend the different areas with packaging peanuts.

2. color scheme

2. At this stage, I took my time selecting the colors and figuring out how light I could push some of the greens.

3. The foreground, the composition
 3. If I had done a good sketch before starting, I probably wouldn't have had so much trouble with the foreground. This is the point where I can check if the composition is really working: the row of trees in the middle ground had to be shortened.  Looking back, I think that more earth tones would have been nice...well, that will have to be another painting.