Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Time to get working!

Okay, so last year I made a solemn promise to myself to slow down, enjoy the world as time passed by, and to get out and do LOTS and LOTS of plein air painting so as to up my craft skills. Did I do that?

HAH! No.

This year I was brought to a halt by fairly major surgery. All treatment should be over on that in another couple weeks -- just some minor stuff left to do. (I'm fine now and will be even finer by mid-March.) But this meant I was sprawled in my blue LaZBoy for weeks, watching The Great British Baking Show and plotting about how very ACTIVE I'd be when I could get up again.

Guess what? Last Saturday was not only supposed to be crazy nice weather-wise, but Sunday was as well, in case I needed more time. I gathered up my supplies and took them into the back yard. I'm starting in the yard because it's been YEARS since I plein air painted, and couldn't quite recall what all was needed. When I took my first class in plein air, I wondered why "pack animal" wasn't on our list of needed supplies, because our teacher wanted us to bring along practically an entire studio of stuff!

Can't really complain, because she does FABULOUS work. But still...

I found the best view but rejected it because there was no shade for me or my canvas. A few steps away I set up in the shadow of my garden shed. I peered at the sky. The sun would be moving that way and the shadows would...

The dramatic scene!

Oh well. Finally got everything set up and began. Whoops, had to grab something else from the house. Now to start. Whoops, needed something else.

This is why we practice.

Anyway, by the time the shadows had moved so very, very much even I had to concede, I thought I'd gotten a good start on things.

The next day I was in the middle of a very good Regency romance. It was through SHEER, DETERMINED EFFORT that I pulled myself out of my LaZBoy and trotted outside. This time setup only took about 15 minutes.

After a little over an hour (that sun moves FAST!) (relatively speaking, of course; Earth goes around the sun, check, check) I signed the piece, cleaned the area, and went inside.

ACK!!! What had happened to my highlights? They were well down on the value scale. The next night after work I corrected them, added a bit more substance to my background, which had grayed down to nothing, put in some darker bits to add contrast, etc etc.

And here's what I got.
"Almost Spring," acrylic on stretched canvas
Practice makes perfect. I'll be doing this a LOT during the year, and also working on those one-hour paintings that people say up your skills a lot faster than doing big paintings. Of course I still have big paintings on my easel to work on because I have to change out things at the Saratoga Grill in Hillsborough every two months. But it will get done, pretty much.

Now... What are YOU doing to increase your enjoyment of life and relish the passing time? I mean, besides reading Regencies and watching baking shows.


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