Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spring Bloom - plein air demo

Spring Bloom, 9 x 12, oil on panel, L. Daniel © 2012

Last Thursday, I painted at a beautiful park in Marble Falls that had field after field of bluebonnets. It was breathtaking, really. A friend of mine took some pictures of my painting in progress and sent them to me so that I would be able to share process notes with my students. Below each image is a brief explanation of what I am thinking about as I develop the painting. Enjoy! 

Here I am on location, facing my subject and blocking in the scene. 

Block-In - Using a dark neutral of french ultramarine and burnt sienna,
I use a line and mass block-in technique to roughly set down the scene.
I check placement and drawing before moving on.

Dark Upright Plane and Distant Plane
I observe the dark uprights as they recede into the distance, 
and determine how they will change as they move from foreground to background.
I mass in the large shapes with the best average color and value 
(and ignore all temptation to indicate detail.)

Ground plane - This is tricky because the ground plane is both receding 
and very light in value, which leaves a smaller range of color to choose from.
I begin to lay in passages that will travel from foreground to background, 
making value and chroma adjustments as they recede.

More Ground Plane passages...
Again, I choose the best average color and value for each passage
knowing that I will add highlights and lowlights later on.

Sky plane - I mass in the sky where the lightest lights are.
The value of the sky is a very important key to the rest of the painting. 
Although I often mass in that area last, I am thinking about it the whole time. 
Once all the large masses are in place and values are working correctly, 
I go back in to break them up and refine them with subtle value shifts. 

Final Nuances - Here is the final piece 
after all the refinements have been completed. 
(There was an equipment change for this last image - it was shot 
at a much higher resolution which explains the higher definition.)

Many thanks to Cindy DeBold for her photos!!!


Sonya Johnson said...

Fabulous post, fabulous painting. Thank you for including the in-progress photos - I always love it when artists do this.

Texas sure looks like the perfect place to paint during the springtime.

Kelley Carey MacDonald said...

Thank you for sharing - I am always loving your process!

Tary said...

Laurel, gorgeous painting! Reminds me of Julian Onderdonk. Fabulous work.

Jim Serrett said...

Hey Laurel, thanks for sharing your process. Very nice way to start my morning. Beautiful work, strong design.

Marilyn Flanegan said...

Masters have a way of making it 'appear' so easy. Thank you for letting us look over your shoulder, Laurel. Beautifully done.

Pam Holnback said...

Thanks for the mini-lesson. Can't believe you're out painting in a white top!

Barbara M. said...

Beautiful, and you look beautiful too. How super to see the process.


karenwihbey said...

What a lovely painting with those bluebonnets! I'm curious how long the painting took to complete?
Thanks, Karen