Saturday, March 20, 2010


Today is the first day of Spring.
So I thought I'd say goodbye to winter with my first post.

I'll try regularly to post my work, painting trips I take, thoughts(mine and others) about plein air painting , and hopefully some learning for both of us about the craft and experience of painting itself.

This is a quick 10x12 oil sketch I did out of my studio window of my backyard after a heavy snowfall.(The only really heavy one we've had this winter in Toronto)!
Most of the time these quick sketches, for me at least, end up a dismal failure but on this one luck was on my side.
Let me say first off that I believe when you do a painting, you need to think it through first - as though you're making a movie and ask yourself-"what is this painting ABOUT"? And "Who are the main actors? "
I decided this painting wasn't about the trees, it wasn't about the shed and it wasn't about the snow- it was about the late winter afternoon's golden glow of LIGHT.
The fence, the trees, the snow and the shed are the main supporting actors.

I'm pretty happy(I'm never totally happy with my work) with the late winter afternoon feel of the raking light and the play of warm and cool that I saw.
It's not finished yet- I want to define the light on the left side of the foreground tree above the fence better , define the housing background behind my neighbour's tool shed and nick in the hard slivers of intense light that were peeking through the spaces between the fence boards-helping give the painting the rich golden glow I was after.

To help you, I've posted the digital shot as I saw the scene and a computer manipulated colour enhanced version so you can see my process.(I flipped the computer enhanced shot into gray scale on my laptop so I could get see those elusive values better).Remember, your digital shots, while far better at capturing the detail in scene much better than the film cameras, don't give you the colour subtleties in the shadow areas-just the shadow shapes.

More to come!

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