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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Just Before the Storm

The Red Garage in Winter, watercolor on paper, 9x12

This winter in Colorado has been very kind to plein air painters. Lots of sunshine and mild temperatures. Last week, for instance, we had a cold front and very low temperatures on Monday and Tuesday, and then warm days again towards the weekend. I managed to get a long lunch break on Friday to paint this scene in Old Town Niwot, just before the next storm moved in and brought snow for the weekend. My plein air group was painting at the canyon west of Boulder and I did not have enough time to travel that far, so I set on this location roughly five minutes from my house.

The muted colors of winter make colorful elements such as this red garage by the old Grange building really stand out. I am using a technique of direct painting, without a pencil sketch, with just some general guidelines in permanent orange to define the major shapes. It is exciting to paint without the pencil boundaries but the drawing accuracy suffers.

I parked the car, opened the passenger door and painted from the passenger seat, with the tripod easel set in front of me by the open door. Only five minutes into it, and the owner of the restaurant next door was sweet enough to come by and offer me a more comfortable chair. I politely declined; I wasn't going to be staying long. Ironic that 99% of the time I stand to paint and no one had offered a seat on those occasions... And I was too focused on the painting to realize I should have taken the opportunity to order a cup of tea or coffee...

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