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The beginning of outdoors painting

Today I couldn't wait to try to paint outdoor, so even if I don't have an easel or a pochade I managed to stick a cardboard to the reflex easel. I went to the spot I was yesterday, and I started to figure out how different is outdoor from studio painting. First of all, people. If there are people around, and there were, I feel shy.. expecially if it's not coming out good.. I tried to sketch directly with dark brown and started to add colours than rain came. This is the result of an hour of painting. Maybe I will go back another day and try to finish it when the support will be dry. If someone have suggestions, books (expecially online one because in Italy it's difficult to find something) and tecnique I'm open to listen to everybody. 



  • I try @BOB73 ! I had 50  percent of probability for it stopped :((
  • Thank you @dencal  :D I Will study this website deeply :)
  • I like what you have so far!  Yep - hard to paint in the rain. Also, everyone around you understands that paintings don't start off looking good. Even those who paint professionally have some ugliness on their canvas at times during the process. No one expects it to look good until you're done. You don't have to tell them you're close to done, if you're not happy with it, of course.  Also - most people who don't paint will think it looks great, even if you don't - most people aren't art critics. No one has ever been unkind to me when I paint outdoors - they might say nothing at all, but I'm all for that!
  • Oh thank you @hez :) it was my first time ever so in the beginning I was shaking ahah I had a strong emotional response :D your advice are very good I will take this in mind for the next times. I need to buy an easel, I had a look and I found the Mabef M22's a French easel, do u use one similar?
  • One hour! Thats amazing how much you where able to  accomplish !
    If the sun comes around you will have a lot of reflections in the lake. 
  • @Filuren u are too kind... It's a really beautiful spot on a river a very large one. Do u think it is good for an hour? Till now my paintings took me hundreds of hours so I am wondering how fast I need to be..
  • edited April 2018
    @Bobitaly ; I love that you established your large value shapes quickly - I love painting outside but every time I take my French easel or even one of my boxes that holds paints (I just keep it open so it is kind of like an easel) - I just find my paintings are complete crap - honestly, there are not many modern plein air artists who have something I would want to frame and put on my walls - it is great experience and is invigorating - the last one I did was in a vineyard with billy goats - I did it with a palette knife.  It did end up being great texture as a failed painting for a tonal study I did later - had it not been for those billy goats, that tonal painting would not have been as nice.  I still think of those billy goats when I look at that painting - no one would ever know.  So, long story, even if you fail, keep the texture or if it is smooth, paint over it.  You can never ruin a canvas unless you poke a hole in it.  So, nothing states that you can't paint from photos but still be outside "en plein air".  

    For about 3 years, I painted exclusively outside (this was around 2007-2010)  I didn't have a studio (and my husband didn't want paint inside) so I set it up outside and loved it.  I had a large old easel that I kept out there, an old tablecloth that served as a great "bag" to bring everything in and out - I just bunched up the corners like a hobo bag every night - it took me 1 minute to "clean up".  There is nothing like being outside, breathing the air, listening to birds etc...  I missed it and have started painting again outside and wish I had done it sooner.  I'll attach a photo of some sunflowers I did about 12 years ago - you can see my setup - I spent several years painting outside like that.  I was tight then and painting from mainly photographs. That sunflower painting won best floral at a local fair so that was my first big blue ribbon prize and payout - the photo was from wetcanvas and it was tedious - it is in a condo in Florida and I do still think it is pretty - my style is different now though.  Now, I am painting outside (en plein air) with little canvases and trying to capture one simple object from life - where it is - I wish I had done it sooner.  It is invigorating.

    Now, I am spending time photographing a set up I really like - I'll paint it outside from probably working from the photo reference as much or more than the scene - we'll see how it goes.  I can promise that I don't miss my "studio" - it is so nice to be outside.

    So, you don't have to go to a location, you can start off in your own yard - even painting a leaf. I've even seen someone with just a little balcony paint a book on a chair.  To get a beautiful large landscape venue - I really think one needs a lot of practice - there is a woman from my hometown who is a great teacher (she teaches at the University) and has great classes online - she has rich vibrant colors - many sunsets - she captures South Carolina beautifully - she recommends no bigger than 5x7 canvases or panels and using palette knives - faster and easier and doable in a day.    She has a very active facebook group as well - she just started a painting a day challenge for 5 days - she is positive and helpful.

    I know Richard Schmid even painted in his car with his steering wheel as his easel for a scene he wanted to capture - don't let anything stop you from trying! :)

    This guy is my absolute favorite plein air painter on youtube:     I think he is fabulous - he has one video of his failures and first works - you might enjoy him.

    I love your enthusiasm (sorry for being so verbose) :)

  • Woo @Julianna what an amazing answer! You are not verbose at all, there are a lot of good advice and experience in your words. Seems you read inside me in a very clear way, all my doubts and all my fears. Being an art lovers since I was very little sadly I know my level and I am really aware of the long journey I need to do.. I will read again your answer tomorrow because here it's very late, so I don't want to miss anything. Talking about your painting, I understand why it won, the steam in the vase are something exquisite, and the seeds corolla incredible, these are the details which impressed me more:)
    For now goodnight to me and goodday to you, tomorrow I will read and watch the video u sent me!
    Thank you!
  • edited April 2018
    This is what I wrote to a member and I am sharing this again:

    1.First find a scene and watch it very carefully about what you are going to paint and how you'll set up the composition. This may take some time. Don't just start right away.
    2.focus on value-shape drawing with paint and start putting keynotes everywhere which is going to remind you how things were.
    3.Start with the farthest corners and then gradually come forward in a scene. Recognize value differences in the painting.
    4. Temperature assessment in subjects is important. Warm against cool and cool against warm. If the direct light is cool then the reflected light and shadows will be warm and vice versa. Otherwise picture will become muddy (everything warm) or chalky (everything cool). This is where the armature plein air painters fail the most.
    5. Memory painting on the basis of your initial drawing will be crucial after 15-20 minutes. There might be no need to look at the source except perhaps shapes.

  • I havent been there yet, sadly there is no experience to share in this topic. Bit it is just so fun to read everyones experience and so many helpful suggestions. I believe you will do good!
  • Thank everyone and thank you @Kaustav ! So today I tried again and it went a little bit better! I need to say painting outside is a bless, it's like going in holiday :) I painted it in around 4 hours but because light changes all the time and the wind was very strong I repainted it practically 3 times. I listen to @Julianna and I choose a little panel (20 cm X 12 ) and i enjoyed it very much even if the panel was a sponge.. People came and I talked to them ahah what do you think of the result? Compared to yesterday a lot better..
  • Kaustav said:
    This is what I wrote to a member and I am sharing this again:

    5. Memory painting on the basis of your initial drawing will be crucial after 15-20 minutes. There might be no need to look at the source except perhaps shapes.

  • @Bobitaly ; I really enjoy your style and your comfort with colors. @Kaustav is mentoring you and me on plein air painting! We are fortunate to have such kind artists who are willing to share.
  • Thank you @Renoir really, I will not call it a "style" more an an attempt :D u are right I am very lucky this forum is full of helpful people.
  • It is wonderful! I am getting so inspired!
  • Great work Bob. As you know, I am getting ready to hit the great outdoors too. My idea is to do studies in  the field, supported with photos taken while on site, and take it all back to my studio to finish or transfer to a larger format as desired. We will see how it goes, I am a bit nervous. Thanks for showing us your work!
  • edited May 2018
    This is all good work! It may take a lttle time to get used to.
  • Great @Freeman ! I will look forward for your studies :) I don't think that attempt is so great ahaha anyway painting outside is good overall for the soul, it's regenerating :)
  • Bobitaly said:
    Great @Freeman ! I will look forward for your studies :) I don't think that attempt is so great ahaha anyway painting outside is good overall for the soul, it's regenerating :)
    It will take some time. Don't stop in one.
  • Never tried painting outdoor yet, but seems a lot of fun!
  • @Jiashen painting outdoors is regenerating, as @Bobitaly says. @Kaustav has an excellent discipline of painting just about every day and his outdoor paintings are full of life.
    I don't know what it is, but painting outdoors seems to fill all the senses and that filling of the mind and body pours out onto the canvas. And even if it doesn't, the painting experience is so much more exciting: trying to catch the image of a moving object, the shadows cast by the sun in the morning hour, the budding flower that blooms in full in less than a day... all of that provides the pressure to capture not just the image but the spirit of the moment.

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