Friday, February 29, 2008

Two Sisters - Plein Air Demo

I've posted a new video demonstration on YouTube. Like "Snowfield Sentinel," it's a short clip with music and no narration. You can see the clip here:

(It's also here:

The painting was done in my side yard and shows a pair of old sugar maples with a lot of character. I've painted them many times, both in oil and pastel, in summer and winter. I learn a bit more about them each time I stand before them. They've become old friends.

The observant viewer will note a couple of interesting things. First, the video shot of the scene shows sky, but my painting doesn't. I opted to crop down my view to the base of the trees - my center of interest - and rendered the background scrim of trees as a simple, dark mass. Second, there's a third tree between the two maples. You can just barely see it in the video shot of the scene, but in my initial sketch, it takes a very prominent jaunt off to the left. As I worked on the painting, I realized more and more that my interpretation of the third tree just wasn't working. I had to diminish it quite a bit.

Finally, you'll note that in the studio, I paint out most of the sunlight hitting the trunks of the trees. Outdoors, the sun kept going and coming, and I wasn't quite sure what to do with it. In the studio, I finally decided to ratchet down the light to just a single spot. It lights up a patch of bright green moss.

The soundtrack was composed and performed by my niece, Florence Katzenbach, and the recording was done by her step-father, Jason Bell. They're a pretty talented family.

The paintbox I used is the 6x8 Guerrilla Painter ThumBox. It's a pretty talented little box, too.

Here's the final painting:

"Two Sisters", 5x7, oil, en plein air - SOLD

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