Day One, Plein Air

I’m doing a week-long plein air class with Bob Lafond via IS183 and The Clark over in Williamstown. Last time you’ll recall I was out and around Berkshire County on brutally hot summer mornings. Today was cold and damp and misty. But! We had a tent to be under so all was well.

I’m the lone watercolorist in a small group of oil painters but the pre-paint-pep talk was good and reviewed the basics – block in areas, shapes not objects, limit the palette, maybe do a value sketch first. So that’s where I started, in paint, in grey.

We’d talked about chasing light – if you take too long painting outside, eventually the light changes enough that you should start again. This was my second, much quicker painting of the scene shortly before packing up. The clouds were lowering and the mist was coming in.

Tomorrow we’ll be inside looking at drawings done outside and doing some sketching from the Clark’s collection.

For all your days prepare,
And meet them ever alike:
When you are the anvil, bear
When you are the hammer, strike.
— Edwin Markham

How to paint

When you go out to paint, try to forget what objects you have before you, a tree, a house, a field or whatever. Merely think, here is a little square of blue, here an oblong of pink, here a streak of yellow, and paint it just as it looks to you, the exact colour and shape, until it gives your own naïve impression of the scene before you. — Claude Monet

From the Quote Box

A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light. — Leonardo da Vinci

From Vincent

When using colors to recreate a general harmony of tones in nature, one loses it by painfully exact imitation. One keeps it by recreating in an equivalent color range, and that may not be exactly, or far from exactly, like the model. — Vincent van Gogh