Saturday, June 5, 2010

Glenolden Park, Another View, alla prima oil painting

Glenolden Park, Glenolden, PA
In my last blog post about plein air alla prima painting, I spoke of the frustration that I felt as I struggled with my initial experience painting outdoors. Fortunately, as the day went on, I felt my groove come back and this piece came together better.

Unlike my previous piece, this view has a much stronger sense of space with subtle yet definite demarcations leading your eye back into space. The colors aid that perspective as well, much more successfully than my first plein air painting.

The intensity of the pale green leaves on the bush in the front isn't as intense in this photo as it is in my original painting, but you get a sense of its "bushiness" which was my intent.

I also let go and explored more active brushstrokes as I rendered this piece. I think the top of the painting, where the brushwork is most active, is balanced well with the smooth grassy areas. It would have been interesting to see how the composition would "read" if I were to moderate my brushwork so that smaller brushstrokes detailed the background and larger, bolder ones were reserved for the foreground.

Lastly, I more earnestly pushed the use of cool colors in the background to moderate the sense of space as your eye moves from foreground to middle ground to background. As I rendered the overall composition, I became more aware of the importance of seeing what was in front of me and then tweaking specific areas of it to focus the viewer's attention.

When I submit my third (and final painting) from the weekend, I will also take time to address how this plein air experience will impact my teaching high school art. So, check back. I encourage your comments.

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...