Tuesday, October 19, 2010

California Plein Air Painting

Hills west of Bishop- Oil, 8" x 6"

I just returned from a five day painting trip to the Owens Valley in east central California. My painting buddies were college mentor and now colleague Richard Hull and fellow undergraduate classmate John Berry. I had never been to this particular area at all let alone to paint and we were all astounded at the scenery and the possible painting opportunities. I'll be spending a few days posting tidbits from the trip.

Today's post will focus on capturing fleeting light. Plein air painting is all about getting something down on canvas quickly in conditions that can change from one moment to the next. Light that looked so compelling when you start a picture can be completely different just a few minutes later and can be lost altogether as soon as the sun drops behind the ridge line.

painting so close to the Sierra Nevada range, we lost light in a matter of minutes during late afternoon. The same thing happened in the morning as the long shadows flattened out a couple hours after sunrise. I was the least experienced outdoor painter in the group, so I focused on establishing the shapes and patterns of the light quickly and using my visual memory to fill in the gaps when the light changed.

Cowhorn Valley Ridge- Oil, 8" x 10"

I snapped photos at the moments I found most interesting and I look forward to combining the impressions I captured in the paintings with the added information in the photos to create larger paintings in studio. More tomorrow.

1 comment:

Houston Trueblood said...

Hey Greg, looks fantastic! Way to go! Makes me yearn for the West…