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Monday, April 27, 2015

Plein Air Artists Colorado National Exhibit

Niwot Farm in Summer, watercolor on paper, 12 x 16

Summer is the time for plein air painting, and for plein air shows. I got great news that Niwot Farm in Summer and another of my paintings got selected for the Plein Air Artists Colorado 19th National Exhibit in July and August at the Mary Williams Fine Arts Gallery in Boulder.

I have sketched and painted at this site a few times in different seasons. It is a beautiful scene at a convenient location, except for the lack of shade, which causes a constant glare on the paper and makes the paint dry too fast. Still a very enjoyable experience and a thrill to face the challenge to capture the subject before light conditions changes too much. The more I paint onsite the more I regret the times when I have to use a photo as reference, as I'm more aware of all the distortions the camera causes. Colors are interpreted by the camera in a way that is very different from how we see the objects, especially the contrast with lit areas and shaded areas. The lens also stretch the field of vision and makes any distant objects appear much smaller and farther than in reality. And of course any close objects will have their perspective skewed.

One of my goals for this plein air season is to increase the ratio of completed paintings done on site, as opposed to only sketches and studies. This means I will have to focus more on technique and speed of execution. Another idea I'm toying with is to try painting on yupo en plein air... At first thought it seems impossible, but they sun and wind usually dry the paint so fast it might be doable with the right approach. Well, we will try and see where it leads.

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