Thursday, December 6, 2007

Extreme Portability

'Extreme portability' is a phrase I like to use when I'm talking with students about what I do as a plein air painter. I can't plan on always painting from the back of the car. Sometimes I may want to take nothing but a backpack -- or sometimes not even that much! Well, maybe that's a little too extreme. But you do need to take only what you need.

I remember one pastel student who drove his van up to the painting site and proceeded to unload what appeared to be a complete studio. By the time he'd finished setting up, the rest of us were well into our painting.

When I'm oil painting, here are a couple of things I do to trim down my gear:

- Pre-load the palette and leave the tubes at home; and
- Figure out how few brushes I can get away with.

For the painting I did today, I used only one brush, a #8 natural bristle flat. Because it's worn down so much that it looks and acts like a filbert, I can get all the different kinds of strokes out of it I need: broad strokes, narrow strokes, lines and dots.

Pilots call this a "severe clear" day. I like the dark water against the snow, and the little bit of warmth that shows up in the lower portion of the sky. (Excuse the sheen on the brushstrokes in the sky; that will go away once it dries.)

'Eastport View, Severe Clear'
5x7, oil, en plein air - SOLD

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