Sometimes it just works. You are at the point where you don't know if the painting is done. Or, you know it's not done, but can't quite identify what it needs. So here's what I recommend - put it someplace where you will walk by it frequently. You don't have to stop to analyze it - just let it veg there, and be patient. What you are actually doing is giving your subconscious a chance to work on the problem. How long till the ah ha moment? For me it can be anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks. The walk by - a great technique to add to your painting repetoire!
So many dynamic techniques are covered during the Wet & Wild Week that most of us go home at the end of the week with a number of paintings on the go. Today's featured painting by art student Shelley Mercer is one such painting. Shelley began with a wet flow of colour and after the first layer had dried, she saw the hint of flower shapes. Many adjustment layers later, the painting was really shaping up in class, but not quite done. When Shelley sent me the photo of the completed painting, I just loved it, and I thought that you would enjoy seeing it too. Don't you agree - it's lovely! "Tulips" by Shelley Mercer.
It's called "En Plein Air" and it means "in the open air" referring to taking your paints and canvases out there and painting. It became very popular in the late 1800's. This was the time of the impressionists, and Monet was a pioneer and advocate of this practice. What are the advantages?
Among those who really love this practice, there is the love of the elements: wind, sun, and good old fresh air, and the feeling that experiencing them first hand while painting the landscape in front of them helps to give a truer interpretation of the scene. Plein air enthusiasts also are up for challenges - the primary one being the fact that the light changes as time passes. There is some urgency in getting the brush strokes down to capture an elusive moment in time. That can be a good thing - it helps avoid fussing over details.
Most of all, it's fun. With a comfortable lawn chair along, what's not to love about setting up in the garden or on the beach, enjoying the day and trying to match some colour to what you see? And not to worry if you don't have a standing easel. If you work smaller, many painters are content to have their watercolour paper or canvas in their lap.
For those of you who love to do this, and for those who may never have tried it but would like to, I am offering a 1 week Painting on Location class from August 12 to 16. We will choose from a number of different beautiful locations in and around London. The classroom at Hillside Church will be available for any inclement weather days. Here's the link to all the information: Cheryl O's Art Courses. Would you like to join us?
When it comes to easels, there are lots of choices. In class, some students like a table top easel. The angle can help prevent light from glaring off the painting, but it is very optional. It's almost as convenient to just put a paper towel roll under the top of the painting to give it a tilt. In my studio, I have a wooden standing easel, plus several styles of table top easels. Here's a link to the most comprehensive article I have seen about easel types: Different Types of Painting Easels for Artists - by Artpromotivate.