Silver Linings

slipping_awaySlipping Away, 12 x 16″ pastel on Uart
© 2009  Marianne Post

It shouldn’t surprise me that when one doesn’t have access to a computer you end up with a whole lot of time to do other things. So for the past week while I have been waiting for my new computer to arrive I have had plenty of studio time. A  true silver lining.

I decided to take some of my plein air studies and resolve them in the studio. This past July I attended Richard McKinley’s Extreme Pastel Workshop. And while the class was jammed packed with tons of information and days of painting, one of the key points was just this: resolve. Study plein air studies, so to speak, and decide how to finish them in the studio.

While painting outside we feel controlled by the landscape. The light changes, reflections move or even disappear, the shadows don’t stay put. It takes a lot of experience to finish en plein air. While on location, my goal became to capture what was precious. I found that writing down the concept, the “why” part of painting the scene, helped me to hold onto the spirit of the work. So in the studio, with some music playing to match the mood, I could go back in time. I could look objectively at what I had done.

In the course of the workshop we learned to consider various options as we critiqued our plein air work, including:

  • composition: Is it working? How’s the balance, the format, the placement of the masses? How does the eye move through the painting?
  • values: Is there a varied distribution of lights, darks and middle tones. Are they linked together to create bigger masses?
  • color: Is there a sense of harmony? Is there a sense of light? Is the color of light evident? Is there a “threading” of a dominant color throughout the painting?
  • or except it as is and frame it!

fall_river_studyPictured, at left, is a study done at the end of day, along the Fall River near Sunriver, Oregon. It is about 6″ x 6″. I was pleased with this quick study but decided to work larger and change the format in the studio. The study was done on white Wallis mounted paper and the studio piece, Slipping Away, was done on a cream colored Uart board. I think the surface made a huge impact in the luminosity of the studio work. But this is what experimenting and exploring options affords one to learn. I like the sense of time and place in both, and working from a study instead of a photograph is definitely more rewarding.

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One Response to “Silver Linings”

  1. Loriann Signori Says:

    Both are beautiful Marianne! And thank you for the Richard recap..always good to hear it again and again.
    Congrats on your freedom from the computer beast.

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