Beginning the learning process

In the last several years I felt my work had been improving in many ways because I had begun to see a polishing of color and medium handling, but there was a tension and tightness that was holding my work back. I thought maybe quick studies would help me loosen up but I wasn’t sure how to do them, really. I just tried to work faster and simpler. Last year I had done a couple quick studies while we were set up in living history camps and felt like they helped.

Stepping into the real world of Plein Aire.
Stepping into the real world of Plein Aire.

One of the artists I met in Kalamazoo spent some time in my booth talking about my work and gave me some good advice. He asked me if I had tried Plein Aire and I told him I had, a couple of times, but really didn’t feel like I had figured it out yet. He proceeded to give me some tips and tricks on paint handling, color, contrast and materials. He got tough, in a kind, mentoring way, and told me to use bigger brushes. There were quite a few other valuable pointers that I absorbed happily and took home to process over these last couple days.

The painting here is the first practicing byproduct of that processing. BIGGER brushes. I started with a darker ground and painted with a one inch brush. It was actually hard, and fun, and exciting. There is still a long evolution ahead of me but I can foresee a point in the future when I blend the looseness of Plein Aire with the detail of illustration.

This will be a process of self discovery that should be fun and fruitful If you have a mind to, check back and see where this walk takes me.


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