Friday, June 4, 2010

Glenolden Park, alla prima oil painting

Glenolden Park, Glenolden, PA
As I indicated in my previous blog post, I took a plein air workshop over the Memorial Day weekend. The painting at right was my first of the weekend. I met the instructor, Fred Kaplan, and the rest of my fine group at Glenolden Park in Glenolden, PA.

This was my first foray into the outdoors to paint and I have to admit that I found it initially unnerving. I've been used to the controlled lighting within a studio environment. On top of that, I have not painted in months so I was resting on my previous experience to get me through. (That was a poor choice for many reasons which I'm not going to pursue at this moment.)

In addition to gaining some experience in outdoor landscape painting, the other primary purpose of this weekend for me was to rekindle my spirits after this month's difficulties at my high school teaching job. Sadly, I found myself bordering on despair as I struggled to find my grove while working on this painting.

Overall, this is not a successful piece for a few reasons. First, there is significant value confusion going on. The background doesn't recede properly and the shapes in the distance aren't resolved well. Part of the issue is that the middle ground is somewhat nebulous. The foreground fairs better though the tree on the left is too dark and lacking in interest. The piece was painted around 11:00 and I feel a sense of light but not the degree that I should (having been there and experienced it).

I'm going to rework this piece to experiment on strategies to resolve the tensions I see in the painting. I'll repost it after I make the changes.

I'll post my second painting (and commentary) tomorrow.

What materials do you use?

I was originally trained with traditional oils. I moved on to alkyd oils because I liked the fact that they dried more quickly but still pro...