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Outdoor painting competition

Less than a month before the plein air competition and I have yet to buy proper supplies for the event. If I were to guess, I'm putting it off because I'm anxious about it. 

Questions:

1) What is the most helpful took for outdoor painting? I was thinking of dragging my french easel out, but I think I should just buy a pochade box. Thoughts?

2) I cannot grasp tree leaves. Not even close. Anything that was a break through in understanding how to paint fully leaved trees?

3) What do you prefer to paint when you are outdoors? This will be in a small town in southeast Wisconsin. Mostly it's fields, sloping land, grazing cattle, trees, 150 year old church at the top of a hill, 2 other 150+ year old churches, a few other in town interests, the rest is kind of industrial and has no romance  or appeal.

4) What sells at plein airs? I haven't even the foggiest idea. And by sells, I also include what do people generally enjoy seeing?

It looks like there's 80 people who are interested in walking the plein air to watch the artists and we have a full 35 artists who are painting which is actually a happy fact as our little town doesn't have any real attractions or diversions. 

One thought I had is there is a very old farmhouse in town that was originally a country grocer (remember those? with the squeaky hard-wood floors and the screen door that slammed shut behind you?)  The place is now an ice cream shop/hamburger stand. There's seating area with picnic tables and big colorful shade umbrellas that might make for a fun, colorful painting.

The constraints of size of canvas and time to paint (one day) means I'll need to paint something that conveys the idea with out adhering to strict realism. So I want to select something that I could actually achieve... 

Any thoughts, suggestions, warnings, omens, (lol) please do share. Thank you all in advance :-)

Comments

  • Use the French easel but start painting on it so as to get used to it again. Find a spot to paint from and a subject in advance and commit to it. Study the subject and make field sketches so you have a clear picture in your mind of how you will paint it. with only one day to paint, the ice cream shop might be a bad choice of subject.   As for leaves, paint trees that are distant enough that you do not need to paint individual leaves. Just get the values right for each clump/ group of leaves.
    Renoir
  • Thanks @BOB73. I've been using my French easel, but I'll just need to practice setting up and taking down more often.

    Good idea about field sketches. I am feeling so apprehensive about this because of my lack of skill, but my life mantra is to push into it, not walk away from it.

    I think you're right: maybe I need to just focus on landscape and not even consider buildings, etc which would requre a lot more drawing and planning.

    I just need to get over my apprehension. This is like a coming out party.  :open_mouth:
    BOB73
  • @Renoir, you don't have a lack of skill, in fact I suspect you & plein air are a very good match.

    The anxiety I get though, not sure how to cope with that.  I'd be tempted to have a beer first.
    BOB73
  • Renoir

    Set up a rehearsal session in your back yard. Refine your kit.
    Hat, sunglasses, insect repellent, parasol, seating, refreshments, weather appropriate clothing etc.

    Denis

    Summer
  • You will be fine @Renoir and good luck 
  • edited June 2
    Renoir said:
    Less than a month before the plein air competition and I have yet to buy proper supplies for the event. If I were to guess, I'm putting it off because I'm anxious about it. 

    Questions:

    1) What is the most helpful took for outdoor painting? I was thinking of dragging my french easel out, but I think I should just buy a pochade box. Thoughts?

    2) I cannot grasp tree leaves. Not even close. Anything that was a break through in understanding how to paint fully leaved trees?

    3) What do you prefer to paint when you are outdoors? This will be in a small town in southeast Wisconsin. Mostly it's fields, sloping land, grazing cattle, trees, 150 year old church at the top of a hill, 2 other 150+ year old churches, a few other in town interests, the rest is kind of industrial and has no romance  or appeal.

    4) What sells at plein airs? I haven't even the foggiest idea. And by sells, I also include what do people generally enjoy seeing?

    It looks like there's 80 people who are interested in walking the plein air to watch the artists and we have a full 35 artists who are painting which is actually a happy fact as our little town doesn't have any real attractions or diversions. 

    One thought I had is there is a very old farmhouse in town that was originally a country grocer (remember those? with the squeaky hard-wood floors and the screen door that slammed shut behind you?)  The place is now an ice cream shop/hamburger stand. There's seating area with picnic tables and big colorful shade umbrellas that might make for a fun, colorful painting.

    The constraints of size of canvas and time to paint (one day) means I'll need to paint something that conveys the idea with out adhering to strict realism. So I want to select something that I could actually achieve... 

    Any thoughts, suggestions, warnings, omens, (lol) please do share. Thank you all in advance :-)
    1. Initially a smaller pochade box would have been a better idea. But French easel is alright for everything - big large whatever. can carry everything.

    2. Trees are hard and painting itself is a very hard job. It needs lots of practice and suddenly it clicks in your mind how to go about trees, water, cloud, people. First put the mid tone base colors and darks in accordance with the tree leaf clumps. when this is done put some highlights in dots for leaves. Check how the 'Great' artists have done the trees.

    3. It is important to find out what do you like the most. I love open sky, fields, trees,  water. Some like flowers, modern buildings streets corners; some just paint the light effects. But without light effect there is no successful painting, photographs or a movie. We deal with visual aspects and put emphasis on certain things through drama between light and shadow. This can only be done using light effects.

    4. Anything that is attractive to the buyer gets sold. they do not see why you used cad orange or a specific blue.

    5. You can paint anything outdoors; paint smaller initially 8X10 perhaps?, do a tonal drawing; watch out for values, shape, temperature variation, fix central focal point early, memory painting after 15-20 minutes.
    alsart
  • The best advice is above 
  • I think I've found a spot to paint for this plein air event. I'm coming into this with a lot of trepidation.

    Here is 'kind of' what I have chosen. The outdoor seating of a lovely locally owned coffee shop. I've been sketching it out this morning and I think I've made a few decisions. 

    First for a longer sitting like this I need to be clise to facilities
    Second, I suspect a combination of man made/geometric shapes like buildings may actually ground the composition. 
    Third, my family yells me I'm better at things close up. The little wrought iron table will have a cup and saucer and I may bring in a piece or two if fruit. Thus may give some focus to the painting and require less detail to the background.
    Fourth, there are also some hanging geraniums with red flowers that can inject a small amount of color. 

    So since thus is plein air, I will subtract a lot of distractions and maybe move items to my liking. 

    I think I will put the table/coffee cup in the lower left but maybe??? Make it large enough to cross over the center line into the right half just a little bit.

    This is really a lesson  in how much photography distorts!


  • I can only post one photo at a time so here's one of the actual source.


    dencal
  • Renoir

    Looks good. Except for the forest of metal work .

    Denis


    Renoir
  • @dencal

    Dennis - yes! I am most certainly eliminating that landscape   ;)

    Renoir
  • Trying to hone position and color. There's a door to the left that I want to eliminate but there's stairs under it. 



    Source:


    Summer
  • The sketch you have provided is perfect.  I hope you will paint this composition.  The greenery.  The light string.  The architecture to the back you can make up as you already have.  The table, chair, cup and saucer are just the right amount of detail for this composition and plenty interesting to look at.  Any more detail I believe would be too much.  You've created drama by omitting people and leaving the cup and saucer isolated and empty.  Excellent!  imho
    Renoir
  • @summer - Love! Thank you! I've been looking for the 'right' setting for weeks and just getting dejected and frustrated. I love your painterly style and you 'see' things the way I'd like to :-) I'm doing a happy dance in my heart <3
  • My first color study. I cannot seem to get the table right. In this exercise I am not aiming for close reproduction but rather encounter and try to address color and values but also placement. So somehow I need to address the table and chair and include the string of lights. 


  • I, personally loved the steps.  Especially because they didn't go anywhere.  I love a good mystery.  And, it gave a nice dimension/depth to the design of the painting.  Several times in my life I actually came across steps like those that didn't go anywhere.  So, I can see why they would appeal to me.  Just saying.  :)
    Renoir
  • The steps are going back in for sure:-)
    Summer
  • This one is a 'practice', oil on board 11x14, but still WIP. Still trying to navigate through just about everything. But I discovered I did not like the placement of the table at all, so I tried a 'sitting at table' perspective which is more my style regardless of if I'm painting or drawing. I've worked on it most of today and will finish in the morning.
    (sorry for the glare, I could not fix it without the rest of the picture being distorted or the colors off)


    PaulBdencal
  • That's wonderful, the coffee is perfect, and so is that background.  I'd be inclined to switch to a small brush and add a little something to the hanging leaves of those planters, but nothing else.
    Renoir
  • RenoirRenoir -
    edited 1:00PM
    @PaulB thank you. In addition to the detail work I need to do I plan to do some detail for the ground.
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