Thursday, March 3, 2011

Plein Air Demo - Garden Portal

Garden Portal, L. Daniel, 8 x 8, SOLD

Yesterday my plein air class started. It's a little bit early yet as spring is just beginning to make an appearance here; so finding this lovely green spot on the grounds of Laguna Gloria felt like a huge gift. This piece is the finished demo from class and below is an incremental record of the process. I actually painted the ones below ahead of time for easy reference, and promised to post them here for my students. Hope it's helpful!

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"Garden Portal" - Landscape Demo
(images below are 6 x 6)

1) Line and mass block-in
Using Burnt Sienna and French Ultramarine, I blocked in simple shapes and values. This dark underpainting established my composition, laid the foundation for my darkest darks, and gave me an overall map of where I was going. A big step back before moving on helped make sure the composition was working.

2) Shadow family in uprights 
Working dark to light, I painted the relatively darker areas of all the verticals in the upright plane. It's important to constantly compare one to another as all color is relative. Notice that the large, simple masses have no detail - this is very important. At this point in the painting, establishing temperature and value are the main goal. Save details for the end.

3) Light family in the uprights
Staying in the upright plane, I laid in the sunlit areas of my subject and began to break up the large masses with small value shifts. I purposely chose to work out all of the color and value relationships in the upright planes first. Once I got those working together, I knew where I needed to go with the sky and ground planes. 

4) Sky and Ground planes, plus final touches
I saved the sky and ground planes until the end so that the other values could help me determine how light I would need to go. Since the sun is in the sky, that will most often be the lightest plane in any painting. The ground reflects the sky and is the next lightest plane (thank you, John Carlson). I also went through and broke up the masses a little bit more, being careful not to overdo it. The highest highlights are the final touches saved till the very end. Yes, delayed gratification, but totally worth the wait.


Liza Hirst said...

This is a beautiful painting! The values and different greens are wonderful.

Denise Rose said...

Oh wow! Just fabulous Laurel! I so wish I lived closer so I could be in your class! I love the demo and it does help me a lot to see it.

Marilyn said...

Your paintings consistly convey a sense of relaxed elegance, so easy on the eyes. Thank you for sharing your process.

Karen d'Angeac Mihm said...

Beautiful painting! I love the colors and seeing the process!

Mary said...

Thank you for the great demo!

Amanda Jones said...

Love this! I really enjoyed seeing your approach, very similar to mine, I also am a fan of John Carlson. Your brushwork is terrrific.

Barbara Pask said...

Just wonderful! Love your composition.

Marian Fortunati said...

Fabulously descriptive. I think the way that you so clearly can describe the steps is the mark of a good teacher... not to mention a wonderful artist!

Barbara M. said...

Hi Laurel,

I love this so much. What a great description, and interesting because I always wondered about how you did the light coming through the trees.

Thanks for this.


Randall Cogburn said...

Nice Demo Laurel and reminds me to take not of what Carlson says.


Julie Hill said...

Laurel, thank so much for sharing your painting informative and interesting to see you approach. Happy painting!

Joan Breckwoldt said...

This is beautiful. I love all your different greens. And the composition is wonderful too, very inviting. Thank you for posting the in-progress shots. you spent a lot of time preparing for your class, those are lucky students.

Stephanie Berry said...

So lovely--how wonderful to see those greens as things here are still so white and blah. Thanks for showing your process. You make it look so easy!

Laurel Daniel said...

Thanks everyone, your comments are really affirming. I am very honored.

Pam Perras said...

Thank you for sharing your demo! I love seeing the process. It's a beautiful painting—so fresh.

DMannion said...

I can't wait to try your method, Laurel. I always set the sky and work from there, but what you do makes so much more sense. And it helps to think of the upright planes and do them first to establish values. Love your work!

Lori Bonanni said...

Wonderful composition and the greens just pop! Thanks for sharing your process.

ladyheart said...

Nature has a way of soothing people and making them connect with their inner selves. Perhaps that is why landscape paintings are so popular, just like your piece of artwork featured here.
landscape paintings