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Outdoor Oil Sketches (Kaustav's Plein Air Blog)

edited June 2017 in Post Your Paintings

This is a training to turn everything into a painting and not to look madly for a subject.
dencalDawnTuprautchetantassieguyForgivenessMikeDerbyPaulBIrishcajunanweshaRoxyBOB73A_AbaevEstherHSummermichalis[Deleted User]L.DuranmcmlxixWhistlermelTsandwichFiluren[Deleted User]mahdiEphramDiannaMelissaespnerhusmichal3michalSi1EJCcustoms


  • You succeeded, @Kaustav. A painting is an object in its own right and the texture and light in this picture make a work of art out of mundane subject matter.
  • edited May 2017
    Excellent solution to that problem. One of the hazards of working outdoors "looking madly for a subject" consistent with the artist's curse. It's good to break that up! This is a very nice night scene, very simple composition and the brush strokes that you used perfect for this and with warm colors, works real well. Also like the shadow under that bench and the light surrounding that whole area. Fantastic and beautiful work!
  • Thanks @tassieguy and @Forgiveness I turned my cell phone light on and put it inside my shirt's pocket. That was my light source.  B)
  • Quite nice, quite beautiful indeed!
  • Great stuff! Keep at it,@Kaustav.  Painting en plein air like this forces one to focus on the essentials and sketches like this can be very valuable in producing bigger studio works.
  • Thanks @Forgiveness and @tassieguy real test and usefullness will be when I go out of town for a vacation.
  • BOB73BOB73 -
    edited May 2017
    I'm seeing a lot of van Gogh here @Kaustav everything I've seen of yours reflects great power. These do as well. Both are very beautiful. I love the buildings and their reflection on the wet esplanade. Is that a park?
  • edited May 2017
    Also I understand that many of today's artists paint outdoors for peace and tranquility saving their sanity as a priority rather than capturing a meaningful scene and much appears rather illustrative. Painting a meaningful scene requires a different attitude and skills and perhaps confidence. I believe you have that confidence @Kaustav.
    KaustavJuliannaBarbara[Deleted User]
  • Composition (charcoal sketch, wiped)
    Construction (thinned paint sketch)
    Tone (scumbled dark and mid tones only, also known as under painting)
    Reconstruction (redefine hard edges)
    Paint (qualify)
    (Tonk and reconstruct if needed)

    Those are the steps.  The secret of the masters of plein air is to do all the steps up to the Paint step in the field. Do the "painting" qualifying indoors. 
  • Thanks for the details on this @walko, much appreciated!
  • @walko wow! Except for that charcoal drawing all the other steps are present in my sketches!  :o. Thanks for highlighting those points.
  • Nothing new. The steps are basically what painters have done for centuries. The names of these steps are from the impressionist time. I think the composition step would have been called engineering in Leonardo's time or inventing in Vermeer's time, I can't remember. Watch any video of an painter and you will see each step in one form or another.
    I do a good amount of plein air and wanted to point out that most of the plein air are actually completed in studio. 
    [Deleted User]
  • @walko right, it may not possible to complete a painting totally or fully understand the potential of a scene while painting outdoors. The first sketch above needed some refinements. Memory painting is also very important in outdoor painting. Scenes vanish in seconds sometimes!

    I am following the lectures of Stefan Baumann online. He painted outdoors a lot. I got the idea of this box from his Utrecht one. 
  • Did you do this all outside today?
  • Looks fantastic! Incredible the progress in just a short period if time.
  • @Kschaben I am on leave today so I went out at 10:30. Left for home at 11:30. You see these are very small panels, so I don't need to do too much on these.
  • edited May 2017
    Thanks @Forgiveness I will be posting my sketches here periodically. 
  • Great work kaustav!
    I'm itching to do some plein air myself.
    .. Trying to stay true to my short term goals though.. So it'll have to wait a bit more

    I find Richard schmid's work to be of really the highest quality.. Plein air wise.
    There's plenty of interpretation.. But he also stays true to the subject, he manages to capture the essence of the subject while abstracting what's in front of him...
    I recently did a study of his painting and found it incredibly helpful.
    I'll document and upload it soon

    Thanks for sharing
    Warm regards
  • edited May 2017
    Thanks @H.M nice to see you here again! All the realist artists do outdoor painting today. Schmidt I think is the best of all the realist artists. I am following my inspirations, surprisingly all painted outdoors Constable, Turner, Hudson school, Impressionists, Barbizon, van Gogh. Their works were meaningful, this aspect is somehow missing in most of the modern day 'plein air' artworks.
    I also like the artworks of Stefan Baumann and Ken Knight.
  • edited May 2017
    I'm looking forward to painting outdoors again also and soon. I'm in process of building my pochade box and mentally getting ready and been engaged in research in this field. awesome thread here! much encouragement.
  • @Forgiveness it is a good idea. You can create a separate blog here for your plein air paintings as it is not quite DMP but we can induce other artists to use the method outdoors. I wanna see your DIY box as well.
  • @BOB73 thanks for that. I live for grandness.  :)
  • Thanks.  I have everything I need and plan on doing just that if my health allows. Small is the answer. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to trying it.

  • This tree is a delight to the eye. Serene scene yet powerful.
  • I love your tree, @Kaustav. It has real 'presence'.
  • edited June 2017
    I like the sense of liveliness, vibrancy, movement, quite different than a still life in the studio and rather apparent in this in that real presence. and yet there is a wonderful stillness in it.
  • edited June 2017
    How do you guys avoid unwanted onlookers? Do you sit silent? tell them to get away? I don't like inquisitive or unwanted people around me when I am painting. How to deal with them? It is very annoying to me to be quite honest.
  • edited June 2017
    I am exactly like that too and increasing since 1981 in my area, same with many others here. Being with a group of painters or having a partner/a buddy helps a lot just having them be there, does take some getting used to, much patience. But I hear that the more you go out there the better it gets, however I am not really well informed about this and times have changed rather dramatically. I do have a lot of experience being outdoors in my past and takes getting used to, sometimes this is called or known as a type of stage fright. Keep moving forward, take little steps. I'm hoping to start a group of painters or maybe join, but I am also very, very independent. Also here I have to work around the fact that we are celebrating Canada's 150th, people packed everywhere in this tiny city, makes it seem impossible on the surface. I have no way of getting out of the city at this moment but a possibility exists in the close outskirts by city transit. I also plan to set up my own outdoor still lifes on the property where I live, but even this practice doesn't hold much promise because of disturbances. I need to stop fretting about the future of any of my plans and keep jumping in. It's a real challenge and I am going to find my way somehow. I don't really like to talk too much at all while I am painting. I live in the very heart of downtown, can be rather uncomfortable. I have to be real strong to keep my focus and enjoy rather than be distracted. Not all but very many of the distractions never brought me joy to the occasion of painting outdoors. I also practice "have the fear and do it anyway", it takes persistence, I keep at it. Many today bring ear buds, not necessarily to listen to anything for entertainment but it discourages people to approach or to stay for long, therefore keeping your focus and intentions of painting. I don't know if I can include more friendly others to stay for a visit with me just yet, because this can be very supportive when it works out well. I'm going to try again, as I have had fantastic enjoyable experiences that I can never forget, that I can't seem to live without. This city has very beautiful surrounding landscape and cityscapes, 2 rivers and hills, beautiful architecture. I believe I can manage a schedule of only 2 hours on one location max, between 6:00-9:00 AM and/or 6:00-9:00 PM, my travel time is extra before and after so I get solid 2 hours hopefully with less distraction, less unwanted attention, less trouble with glare. Sunlight, sunsets and sunrises and skies are beautiful in those times. This is where I am getting mentally ready and researching, consulting online about how to get comfortable with plein air painting, as there is much helpful support.
  • Ignore them as much as you can. Don't answer questions. Not even "Thank you" if some one gives a compliment. Just grunt.  DO NOT make eye contact. I'm no expert but my personal experience tells me making eye contact means you are inviting conversation. MAKE SURE it's not a cop before saying something wrong.
    [Deleted User]Forgivenessrautchetan
  • I've never had the problem because I've never had the courage to paint in public. The idea of someone looking over my shoulder horrifies me.  I'm lucky in that I have views on our farm so I'm able to paint in private but it would be good to go further afield. I admire Kaustav's courage and determination. If I were painting en plein air and someone started looking and commenting I doubt I'd say anything. I'd probably just smile and look away so as not to invite further comment. 
  • edited June 2017
    @tassieguy that's the best, most successful approach, still not perfect but does work best. Keeping a smile at all times/as much as possible, helps tremendously. "I doubt I'd say anything, just smile and look away", continue painting. But sometimes I just have to stop what I am doing, pack up and leave, either cancelling my plans or arrange to come back another day, leaving with unfinished work/incomplete and frustrated. I walk away with my equipment in hand, safe and sound, grateful and getting ready for my next excursion outdoors. For every opportunity missed in one beautiful scene, there is another waiting just around the corner to be captured just as beautiful or better than the last. Not good to cry over spilled milk.
  • @Forgiveness I felt like I had van Gogh syndrome - throwing my box or easel at them, throwing stones :s :#Aghh! I hate onlookers
  • @Kschaben remember, baby steps if this helps, one step at a time.
  • edited June 2017
    I believe it can be overcome, I believe I can get over it. After a while I am not disturbed once I get used to it, especially when my focus on enjoying painting becomes clear in what I want most importantly.
  • That's a nice idea @dencal I will throw some coins in the hat before anyone comes so that they understand instantly and runaway =)
  • edited June 2017
    @walko I don't mind this practice you had suggested once in a while for the fun and learning experience but only when I want to and when practical. @dencal that's a very powerful technique and works wonders, I have tried this and it is best to keep a little change in the hat. Some places you need a licence from the city to collect money as these by-laws are enforced, check with your own jurisdiction on this for further details. Can also chose places to paint where there is less vulnerability of violating any governing laws around this.  
  • edited June 2017
    Auguste Kaustav!  or Claude if you prefer.
  • edited June 2017
    When I used to render chalk art on the street, artist would set up ribbon fences, designating parameters to work in, set a clear boundary to keep others out.
  • Kaustav said:
    @Forgiveness I felt like I had van Gogh syndrome - throwing my box or easel at them, throwing stones :s :#Aghh! I hate onlookers
    Yes!! I think I'd say really loudly and sarcastically, "OH good grief! NOW there is no pressure!!!"

    Actually, I don't think I'd have the courage to say that... I don't even have the courage to paint en plein air!
  • edited June 2017
    @Erika_wakirestudio I have had my fun! let me tell you and much encouragement to do so too, that was in the earlier years in the beginning, 1978-1981, but not since. Now I just smile, remain quiet, pay attention to focus on my breath, wait a few moments make busy and begin making a new decision to stay or leave and further decide if I have to leave in a hurry! I carry a police whistle for real emergencies only. LOL!!!
  • Maybe just tape a sign to your back.  "Quiet, please.  Move along, nothing to see here."  Or something to that effect.
  • Don't let anyone photograph you without your clear consent to, most people are very nice about this and will ask first not later.


    Sorry to tell you this, but whether you are in Canada or the United States, if you are in a public area or at public event, on public or private property.  Anyone can photograph you without your permission. They do not need to get your consent, It is not illegal,    Please refer to:

  • edited June 2017
    @walko my sincere apologies thank you, much appreciated and I agree, and I admit to having been confused about this, but no longer. I've cleared away the posting related to this. I really enjoy painting, this is why I paint and this is what is most important to me. In the meantime I look forward to plein air painting and enjoying it, oil painting is fun, whether in studio or outdoors, many experiences to look forward to, anything that may add to this enjoyment. Live and let live. LOL!
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