Plein Air in PA III

Oil on canvas panel, 9 x 12 ins

Our third Plein Air class was in the middle of very quiet Amish countryside, near New Wilmington, PA. The three of us stood within in a fairly small area but all chose different views, so came away with three totally different paintings.

I liked these big trees overshadowing the farmhouse buildings, with the big barn a little closer to me. There were numerous Amish buggies coming and going, and horses being used to plow the fields, so almost the only noise was of horses’ hooves. Altogether a very peaceful three hours of painting.

Plein Air in PA II

Oil on canvas board, 9 x 12 ins

For our second 3 hour lesson we went to a rural area and found a pumpkin field. One fascinating aspect of painting outdoors with other people is that we can stand in a small area together and produce totally different paintings!

My choice of view and subject was based on the pumpkins leading up to the white barns, which are silhouetted by the dark trees. I also liked including the distant hills. I had a strong sense of representing the feel of what was in front of me rather than the exact image. To that end I ‘moved’ the pumpkins around quite a bit!

Plein Air in Pennsylvania I

Oil on canvas panel, 9 x 12

A few weeks after arriving in Pennsylvania, I visited the Hoyt Art Center in New Castle, PA and found that they offer 4 classes in Plein Air painting. This seemed like a good opportunity for learning and encouragement, so I signed up!

The teacher, Nancy Hawkins , is a kind and gentle lady, who gave useful instruction and good encouragement. On the first lesson I was the only student! We sat on the back patio of the lovely Hoyt Art building for three hours and painted this view to the south. It was exhilarating!

Master Copy II

Copy of a painting by a Master, oil, 12 x 12 ins

This is another painting completed in a series of lessons with Kari Rajkumar. The original is a self-portrait by John Singleton Copley, a famous and well-established Colonial artist, who moved to London in 1774. I’m afraid I made him look slightly chubbier in the cheeks than he painted himself, but the process was absorbing and instructive.

Landscape Tutorial II

Beach Scene

Beach Scene, 6 x 8 ins, oil on canvas sheet

This was another tutorial by Paint Coach Chris Fornataro, from his Patreon site. I like the Patreon system; you can find good instruction at whatever level or tier suits you and the artist directly benefits. I’m a ‘patron’ of Paint Coach at the lowest level ($5/month) which lets me see one new video a month. That seems to be plenty for now. Since I became a patron his number of patrons has doubled-so also has his income.

The tutorial was emphasizing the use of thick paint and was a lot of fun to do.

Practicing oil painting

Although I’ve enjoyed the acrylic glazing process, I decided I wanted to return to something with more ‘solidity’ and depth, and a method that is more direct. I have not been able to find mediums I like for the water-mixable oils, so with some encouragement and instruction from Kari Rajkumar, I’m working with traditional oils now.

I bought a small selection of Gamblin 1980 oils locally, and have been working on exercises from Paint Coach (on YouTube and Patreon). Paint Coach (Chris Fornataro) is very good at simplifying and de-mystifying the materials and process, with excellent tutorials on all aspects of oil painting. And he’s often entertaining!

Here are my first apple studies from his video on Patreon. A very similar study can be found here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=if6Z4BaqDSU

Both apples were painted with a triad (Hansa Yellow Medium, Cadmium Red Medium and Ultramarine Blue, plus Titanium white. I used Gamsol thinner and Oleogel medium. I enjoyed seeing the improvement of the second (lower one) over the first. I think I got a little better idea of the paint/thinner/medium mixtures the second time.
Apple studies, 6 x 8 ins, oil on canvas paper

Portrait Lesson IV

Finally finished! I feel my version looks a bit more intense than the original, maybe slightly more worried. The more I look at it, the more changes I see I could make to match the original more accurately. Whilst that seems to lead to a never-ending project, it is also one of the wonderful aspects of drawing or painting that I love; the more you look, the more you see, and you really come to know and appreciate that object in a different way than previously.

Portrait lesson II

She’s moved towards looking more life-like! We worked on shadows on the face and neck, the hair and the background. There is so much good information; the time is extremely enjoyable and just flies by!

One change I’ve made, following Kari’s example, is to start using a vertical palette. This is so the painting and the palette are seen in the same light, and to bring the paint colors closer to be judged more accurately. My vertical palette is actually just my horizontal Masterson palette mounted on an easel. The glass mixing plate is held in place by magnets; the magnets under the glass are glued to the palette. I like using it this way.