Make It Simple, Make it Plein, Make it Fast
Plein Air workshop on a horse farm emphasizing evening light. Nature is our best teacher – if we have a sunny day composition will include shadows like a still life; if we don’t have shadows we make a painting about pattern. Learning to adjust for this and use what we see at a particular time and weather is one of the best lessons. We can choose a garden, barn implements, maybe horses ( if they will stand) and house architecture. We will use the late afternoon light, making note that will change as we finish our project. Think simple, think layers, think clarity, think decisive. There will be a demonstration with oil paint and help with your project. Class starts promptly at 3 to 6 pm. Social hour afterward with covered dish. Bring your favorite side dish and we will provide the BBQ, drinks, and bread. Let’s have a party people.
Colors: a light lemony yellow, raw Sienna, cadmium red light (or substitute a bright warm red), permanent rose, ultramarine blue, cobalt blue (or substitute a bright blue), burnt Sienna (or transparent oxide red), viridian (optional – not necessary), and white.
NOTE: this is a warm and cool version of the 3 primary colors, with burnt Sienna as a “helper” color. If you’re comfortable with your palette colors, use them. If you’re not comfortable mixing yet, keep your colors to a minimum recommendation of no more than these 9 or 3 primaries plus white.
paper towels or rags
easel – French easel or half box French easel or brand of pochade box that uses a tripod like Strada or Open Box M or Prolific Painter easel. NOTE: There are ways to gather gear without having a pochade box and tripod, and that will be up to you- something to hold your panel and a ledge for paint are the most important. It’s common to stand and paint, if not possible, get familiar with gear before the workshop especially to determine whether to sit or stand. Be ready to set up right away after the talk and demo by being familiar with setting up gear. If help is needed about gear, that will become the lesson instead of painting. I can offer help with that about 2:30 before the workshop starts.
stool or suitable chair – if a folding chair make sure it doesn’t keep you in a slump.
Gamsol or Turpenoid for brush cleaning and moistening.
Jar or sealing can for the Gamsol. The cans can be hung off the easel from the handle. If not a can, figure a way to place the jar so it won’t tip.
brushes – anything bigger than size 4. Little brushes won’t help to paint efficiently and surer. Bristle brushes size 4 to 8 flats are good. A chip brush from the hardware department (1 inch) is handy. Synthetic “snappy” brushes will work also.
palette knife – the kind with a long springy triangle
Panels or stretched canvas – how are you going to get them home? Most plain air painters use panels and carriers made for panels. For cotton panels, I suggest a couple of coats of gesso before the workshop. If you can find linen panels – great – don’t gesso them. Most cotton stretched canvas would be easier to work on by adding a couple of coats of gesso. I suggest bringing at least 2. 9×12 and 11×14 are sizes that can usually be finished in a plein air session. If you think you can finish a 16×20 go for it. Smaller canvases can be great for doing studies without the worry of accomplishing a polished painting. We learn more by painting several small studies than by laboring over one.
Canvas carrier or box for getting home
a viewfinder – is handy too. not necessary though. Or make a frame with index finger and thumbs A small sketch pad and pencil for making thumbnail compositions.
Waxed paper or freezer paper is handy for emergency palette and to cover paint to travel home.