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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A Simple but Important Plein Air Lesson

'Palm Study'       5x7      pastel plein air     ©Karen Margulis
available $50
I am back home after an amazing trip to Italy and Croatia. The workshop in Porec Croatia with Pastel Workshops Croatia was a wonderful and inspiring experience. I have much to share about the workshop. Details and paintings will be coming but today I wanted to share an important plein air lesson that I shared with the artists at the workshop.

Choosing a subject to paint and then simplifying the information is one of the most difficult tasks for a plein air painter. Sometimes it is best to see what can be removed from the scene rather than try to fit it all in.

Ask yourself....What is important and what can I ignore?

My first plein air demo of the workshop was done just after breakfast on our second day. It was a hot day and the sun was intense. There was not much shade so I decided it would be good for everyone to  stay on the patio in the shade of the big red umbrellas. It was a comfortable spot. There were things to paint but they were hidden. I decided that this would make a good lesson in simplification and elimination.

One of those big red umbrellas was in the way! And there were the tennis courts in the background. All things that were not important to my painting. I wanted to paint the palm tree.....more specifically I was interested in the light on the palm tree. I could see enough of the tree to put down these 'notes' on my paper. All I had to do was move slightly when I needed to see more. I reminded myself to look past the umbrella and the tennis courts. I took the information in the scene that I needed and ELIMINATED the distractions. This is something we as artists can do....the camera cannot!

Here are a few photos from the demo. Thank you to Mario from Pastel Workshops Croatia for the photos. Full review coming soon!

The palm tree in the evening from another angle


robertsloan2art said...

Wonderful lesson! I do this so many times, since I'm more into trees and wildlife than fences and barns. I love the palm tree and would have chosen that to paint too. I like working small and it's best outside to just choose one cool thing to paint, maybe two. I can always do other studies if something else attracts me. Or combine something that's at another angle, like moving a shrub up under a tree if that makes a better composition or placing the tree near glimpsed water.

There are some creeks nearby that I'm itching to paint outdoors and when the super heat of summer ends I may ask for a ride out to a creek.

Melle Ferre said...

What a great share! Thank you for a reminder I can use right now!!! And love the palm painting!