10 x 20 oilsToday was a warm late spring day and I thought I'd try some plein air painting. I never have to go too far to find subjects as I live in the woods, quite literally. At the back of the house there are acres and acres of trees and among the pines, spruces and firs, stands a paper birch that soars head and shoulders above them all. I like to think of this tree as the Sentinel, watching over the forest.
I pulled together my oils, thinners and brushes and brought them out to the patio where I have a great viewpoint of this tree. The sun was brilliant on the canvas, so I quick toned it to reduce the glare and started to lay in some values.
A gentle breeze lifted to a cool gust making me glad I'd put on a sweater before venturing out. The disposable palette sheet started flapping, so I grabbed a rock and put that on the end of the sheet to hold it down. After finishing the sky and starting to build the tree masses, the wind came back again, this time lifting my panel and placing it on me. Great. I now had a brown sweater with blue paint and a lovely imprint of knit fabric on the painted sky.
I secured the panel more firmly to the little french easel and continued to build the image. The sun was warm and I took off the sweater, figuring it would definitely be 'the painting sweater' from now on. But the wind wasn't finished with me yet it seemed. It couldn't take the panel and fling it around, so it chose the palette instead. Even with the small rock holding the disposable sheet of paints in place, the wind took the whole thing and turned it upside down. On me. Guess what? I have dedicated painting jeans now. And shoes too.
I have older clothes that I use when painting and wear an butcher's apron,but its pretty rare that I do get paint over me. Til today.
However, after 90 minutes of work, this is what I came up with. I removed some trees to make the birch more prominent and ignored the line of old willow stumps that had been pruned in the foreground. I may fiddle with it a bit more or will it be classed as 'plein air' then? Isn't the end result what its all about instead of the process?