Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"San Luis Obispo Plein Air Festival"

"San Luis Obispo Plein Air Festival" - Oil - 18" x 24" - $1100

"A couple of years ago, I participated in this fast-growing event. The last morning, artists painted in the mission square near the art center. White tree trunks led the eye to a single artist's white umbrella and a vendor's booth which added interest to the festive scene. This is a larger, studio version of the piece painted on site and auctioned later that day." --- SFG

Step by step:

After toning the canvas with my usual cadmium red because I like the way it vibrates with the overlaying colors, I sketched in the scene, paying attention to the division of space and placement. For instance, the shadow area in the foreground takes less than half of the vertical distance creating a pleasing proportion. The larger white trees are just off center since they are the focal point.

Starting with the darkest areas, I designed the shapes of the tree foliage, making sure they are varied and interesting. Always consider both the shape itself and the negative shape it creates, like the sky openings.

I've continued to cover the shadowed area, saving the light shapes to lead the eye around the canvas and create the focal area. Everything in the light will be lighter than any of these values in shadow.

Finally, I'm developing the smaller details and sunlit shapes. Just a little more to go....

I will go back and refine a few areas after letting the painting sit in the studio within sight for a while, but the main work is done. By glancing at it often, I identify the problems and decide how to correct them. It's almost a subconscious process.

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