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acadianartist



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PostSubject: Snow plein air   Sun Dec 27, 2009 6:35 pm

Sorry I've been away from this forum so long - between work, kids, holidays... well, you get the idea. So to make up for it, here are my two latest plein air paintings. As some of you know, I am a plein air painter year round. Though I do work in studio sometimes, for me, nothing beats the excitement of being outdoors and trying to get it all down on canvas. I sometimes take reference pictures of the scenes before me in case I need to touch up the painting in the studio, and am always struck by how much livelier the plein air painting is compared to the photo. I "see" much more when I'm outside. Of course, I love the great outdoors, living on a large rural property, and this way I combine two of my passions.

I will paint outdoors in the winter, as long as it isn't too cold. Generally, I snowshoe to where I'm going, with my paintbox on my back, and paint on my snowshoes since it adds a layer to keep my feet off the snow. Thermal underwear, glove-mitts and snow pants complete the picture. Not a fasionable one, by any stretch of the imagination , but functional!

So here are a couple of my latest plein air works. The first was done with a friend a couple of weeks ago. We thought we were going to have sun that day, and were looking forward to painting long, blue shadows. No such luck. The light was diffuse and it was hard to find much of interest to paint. So I looked at it as an exercise and as such, felt it was useful.

9 x 12 on stretched canvas



This next one was done today. Normally I have a rule that I don't post something until at least a day has passed. Problem is, I can never tell right away if a painting is a success or not. But I've decided lately that I need to take more chances if I am to improve as a painter so here it is, flaws and all....

Because I intended it to be a study rather than a finished painting, I did it on canvas paper taped to the back of a panel - a cheap way to do painting exercises. It was a dull, grey day. There was a gentle drizzle when I was painting, and the sky was dark grey. I looked outside and decided that although there wasn't any colour out there, I would try as hard as I could to find as much colour as possible in the greys. The fact is that around here, it is grey for several months. As a plein air painter, I paint what's before me and this is my world so I might as well figure out a way to paint it effectively. Not saying I succeeded, but this is part of the adventure!

5 x 8

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Janet
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PostSubject: Re: Snow plein air   Sun Dec 27, 2009 7:40 pm

Chantal, I certainly understand being busy this time of year. I hope you had a great christmas. I love your paintings! You're such an expert with color and the texture in the second one... yum I love thick paint. I never thought you could use such thick paint on canvas paper. I know what I'll be painting on next. I like working on canvas but after a while it does take up a lot of room. I'd say you succeeded beautifully! You're so modest.Smile

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judyfilarecki
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PostSubject: Re: Snow plein air   Sun Dec 27, 2009 7:54 pm

Chantel,

I love both of your paintings. You capture so much light where there is hardly any. I especially like the first one. The golds against the bight snow along the path makes me almost wan to be there...for a moment. I'll stick with southern Arizona for the winter for right now.

Judy

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Callie
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PostSubject: Re: Snow plein air   Sun Dec 27, 2009 10:58 pm

I love your tree in the snow! I'd frame it
The sense of winter light in the first is very well done. I think that's the big advantage of plein air painting - Being able to see the lights, shadows and full range of colors (photos tend to flatten things).
Thanks for sharing these!
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acadianartist



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PostSubject: Re: Snow plein air   Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:55 am

Thanks judy and Callie! Yes, being outdoors helps me see a lot more colours where a photo would be pretty much just shades of dull grey. However, with the help of photo manipulation software, it is possible to increase the saturation of colours and help restore some of them. Some people are able to "see" colours on photos, or at least know what they should be and where to put them. I have no doubt this is possible with experience, but I still find it more effective to paint on location.

I really pushed the colour on that second one (the apple tree) and accentuated the texture. Compensation for the dullness of winter I suppose.
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judyfilarecki
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PostSubject: Re: Snow plein air   Mon Dec 28, 2009 3:37 pm

acadianartist wrote:

I really pushed the colour on that second one (the apple tree) and accentuated the texture. Compensation for the dullness of winter I suppose.
I think that was just the right solution. Without it, the painting would have been just another tree in a dull winter scene. You brought it to life. Judy

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acadianartist



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PostSubject: Re: Snow plein air   Mon Dec 28, 2009 4:31 pm

Thanks Judy. The snowflakes falling over it are just the perfect touch I might add!

My more realistic paintings tend to attract more positive comments from friends and family, but frankly, I have no desire to be a realistic painter and if I don't paint the way I want to paint, then I'd rather not paint at all. Don't get me wrong, I greatly admire those who painstainkingly reproduce every detail from real life as it requires patience and tremendous skill, but that isn't the path I am after. Which is why I like the apple tree better than the snow path above it, but both are good exercises and both have flaws. Maybe someday I'll figure this painting thing out, but in the meantime, I'm enjoying the journey.
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judyfilarecki
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PostSubject: Re: Snow plein air   Mon Dec 28, 2009 7:54 pm

I went back to look at them again to see if I but I could see any of the flaws you mentioned, but I couldn't find any. I think your style is beautiful and the snow flakes really do add drama to the paintings..

You paint from your heart and that is all that matters.

Judy

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Janet
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PostSubject: Re: Snow plein air   Mon Dec 28, 2009 9:17 pm

Chantal, I find the same thing with the more realistic paintings getting more positive comments but painting realisticly feels like trying to shove a square peg into a round hole. It just doesn't feel rite. It will take me a long time to be able to acquire the artistic confidence that you display in your art but my goals are to paint the way that feels rite for me as well which is a more painterly approach. I love your style!

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Sofie
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PostSubject: Re: Snow plein air   Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:40 pm

it amazes me that you are able to stand out there in the snow and paint! i really like the way you rendered the dry grasses in the first picture. The second one is very moody - both the colours and that twisty old tree. very nicely done.
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acadianartist



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PostSubject: Re: Snow plein air   Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:45 pm

Thanks so much for your encouraging comments Janet! Somehow, I missed your first post, probably because it was just below my last image. Yes, it is possible to paint thickly on canvas paper - I bought a bunch to do 15 min. sky studies at last light. I just cut them up, add an extra coat of grey tinted gesso, and tape them on the back of a panel. If I decide to frame them, it is possible to back them permanently, though I haven't tried it yet. The canvas paper is archival, but it is rather absorbent, so if you like blended paint, it works well, but I like texture so I add extra gesso. The tinting is helpful in winter plein air painting because it accelerates the process, especially if you have a tinted canvas which can be allowed to show through. I hate those little bits of white showing through, but if it's a neutral grey (like the apple tree painting) or a washed out raw sienna orange (that was the case for the first painting), then it can add a glow to your finished painting if you let a little bit show through.

But part of the reason the paint is so thick is because it was cold! First thing I did when I opened my paintbox is pull the drawer out too far, resulting in all my paint tubes landing in the snow! Though it's still workable, ws oil paint does stiffen up as it gets colder and judging by how hard it was to open those tubes (my dentist is not going to be happy with me ), the paint was stiff! That's partly why I had to load it on and kind of push it onto the canvas with my brush. This is not new for me, so it doesn't worry me, as I've painted in frigid temps before and in comparison, this was a balmy day. It all adds to the experience!

Oh, and I am by no means an "expert" on colour or anything else, but I blush at your kind comments If I could paint figures like you, I'd consider myself quite accomplished!
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acadianartist



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PostSubject: Re: Snow plein air   Mon Dec 28, 2009 10:52 pm

Thanks Sofie!

I love outdoor winter painting! And trust me, if there is one person who doesn't like to be cold, it's me. But with the right gear, it is absolutely exhilerating! There are no bugs, and snow is fascinating... I actually look forward to it for the first time in my adult life! Sometime I'll have someone take a picture of me painting in the snow. It is just so peaceful - I get totally in the zone.

That twisted old apple tree is one of many situated right next to my house. I moved here 2,5 years ago and have painted that tree at least 6 times, at different times of the year. It's a convenient model for me and so interesting. I hope it has a very long life ahead of it still!
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PostSubject: Re: Snow plein air   Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:28 pm

Thank you Chantal for explaining your process when using canvas paper. Very helpful! I see why you missed my post... no problem. I'll look into finding a way to seperate off the posts to make it easier to see. Thank you for bringing that to my attention! Smile

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judyfilarecki
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PostSubject: Re: Snow plein air   Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:05 pm

Chantel,
I keep an old nut cracker in my paint box so I have something to open the tubes with other than my teeth. It works very well and doesn't take up too much room.

Judy

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acadianartist



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PostSubject: Re: Snow plein air   Tue Dec 29, 2009 2:28 pm

Good tip Judy! I usually don't have much trouble, but this time, they were frozen!
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PostSubject: Re: Snow plein air   Fri Feb 26, 2010 12:18 am

Chantal which gesso are you using that is tinted grey? Also do you find one paint stays more fluid over another in winter temps? I want to paint plein aire but no one will go with me for some reason they all think it's too cold to paint outside right now. They want to paint in the park when it's 85F out instead.

Kimberly
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acadianartist



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PostSubject: Re: Snow plein air   Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:44 am

Hi Kimberly! Thanks for bringing me back to this forum - I've been away so long. Life just got real busy, I barely have time to paint (going into withdrawal here), much less go online.

I tint my own gesso, just like mixing paint. I use a large yogourt container and mix batches to prime my masonite panels. You need to use acrylic paint with Gesso since it's acrylic based. I usually mix a batch of warm grey (usually a mixture of Payne's gray and a smidgeon of red to warm it up just a tad) and a batch of salmon pink (a bit of red, raw sienna and a little yellow until I get a shade I'm happy with). I'm liking the pink more and more over the grey as it tends to give the paintings a glow, especially for early or late day scenes.

I've had to use traditional oil white to avoid my titanium white getting too thick, as I mentionned in my post. I haven't tried other whites, but I've been told the culprit is lead. Any paint with lead in it will turn to plaster in sub-zero temps. So if you can, avoid those.

Yeah, people are such wimps. Why do you need someone to go with you? Wink Go! Do it! It's the best feeling in the world. But dress appropriately. Don't know how cold it is there, but I've been out painting in -16 Celcius temps without any real problems. If temps are anywhere near that where you live, wear long, thermal underwear, snow pants, a good winter coat, wool hat and gloves/mitts, and of course, the best boots you can afford.
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kbaxterpackwood

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PostSubject: Re: Snow plein air   Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:20 am

acadianartist wrote:

Yeah, people are such wimps. Why do you need someone to go with you? Wink Go! Do it! It's the best feeling in the world. But dress appropriately. Don't know how cold it is there, but I've been out painting in -16 Celcius temps without any real problems. If temps are anywhere near that where you live, wear long, thermal underwear, snow pants, a good winter coat, wool hat and gloves/mitts, and of course, the best boots you can afford.

Of late it hasn't been safe for women to be out alone in the countryside here, there have been a couple of whack jobs running around it's really cramping my morel hunting sessions in the spring as well! And then there's the whole cold/wimp factor I'm a northern baby, my mom is from NFLD and I guess cold tolerance is just in my blood. Wink Warm clothes, got them, don't have an easel yet though still working on that one.

Kimberly
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acadianartist



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PostSubject: Re: Snow plein air   Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:28 am

Ah, I see. I have a 13 acre property with some pretty thick backwoods and I know all the neighbours (many are farms) so I don't mind heading out by myself. What about public parks where there are lots of people coming and going? Though it certainly is more fun to go with a buddy - which I do fairly regularly as well. Keep looking, maybe you'll find someone as crazy as we are to go with you!

BTW I wasn't saying you are a wimp, just people who don't like to paint in the cold! I'm teasing of course. But in my experience, some days in winter are more pleasant to paint in than summer. I prefer the cold to intense heat, burning hot sun and the bugs that fly right into your paint, your eyes, your nostrils...
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PostSubject: Re: Snow plein air   Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:50 pm

acadianartist wrote:

BTW I wasn't saying you are a wimp, just people who don't like to paint in the cold! I'm teasing of course. But in my experience, some days in winter are more pleasant to paint in than summer. I prefer the cold to intense heat, burning hot sun and the bugs that fly right into your paint, your eyes, your nostrils...

I knew that, those that might go with me in the winter would complain even more in the summer.

K-
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Dale

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PostSubject: Re: Snow plein air   Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:25 pm

I am a wimp when it comes to coyotes. They are intimidating people in New Brunswick.
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judyfilarecki
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PostSubject: Re: Snow plein air   Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:50 pm

Chantel,

I have moved the discussion about using masonite to paint on to another forum where it would be more visible for people.

http://watersolubleoils.forumotion.com/water-soluble-oils-f5/criteria-for-using-masonite-as-a-support-surface-for-wso-t263.htm#3603

Thanks for the great info. For other people wondering about the criteria for using masonite, click on the link above.

Judy

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acadianartist



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PostSubject: Re: Snow plein air   Sun Feb 28, 2010 6:19 pm

Good idea Judy!
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