Sketchbook Thursday No. 10

Since last Thursday I have been participating in an incredible pastel plein air workshop as mentioned in my previous blog, Less is More. So you would think that this Thursday’s sketchbook post would be filled with pages of sketches. Truth be told, my pages are filled with notan studies of all the places we have stopped to paint. But instead of showing you those (my internet connected is so-o-o slow) I have just as many pages filled with notes on theory and technique.

This week I thought I would share my sketchbook as a notebook and have selected a few “gems” that I think are worth considering:

  • Take a picture of your painting every 20-30 minutes–a great way to review your process.
  • Plein air painting does not mean a start to finish painting for all artists. It is about the opportunity to see with sensitivity.
  • The plein air experience should result in a good “start”. Strive for a field sketch.
  • Cool greens should be handled with a more neutral bias.
  • Violet is composed of a warm and a cool and threads or weaves the landscape together
  • The foundation of any painting is value.
  • The key to most failed paintings is poor composition and incorrect value structure.
  • The tools of the artist: shapes, values, edges and color relationships.
  • When faced with a painting location that at first seems to lack inspiration look for strong contrasts, then direction rhythms and textures.
  • Always ask, “What can I leave out?”
  • Look for movement, angles within the composition. Create counter movement.
  • Create asymmetrical movement, even if it doesn’t exist in the scene.
  • All landscapes have a warm bias. Even overcast days have warm light.
  • Set the shadow shapes early on.
  • Turn your painting into a different light to really see colors and values.
  • Ask yourself, “What is the one color that threads throughout the painting?”
  • In a vertical landscape, emphasize aerial perspective.

Any one of these is fodder for a future blog. Hope you stay tuned!

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