A perfect day for plein air painting in Southern Oregon. It was sunny, about 70 degrees, and no wind. We were privileged to be painting at a 100 year old inactive dairy farm with many old buildings and a lot of local history. The farm is still in the original family’s ownership. I chose to paint the “milk house” which the daughter said was where they stored the cans of milk before they went to the creamery. I used a silhouette approach which gave me more time with consistent lighting. I was looking at the north side of the building. As the sun rose light hit the East and South sides. As the sun began to drop it hit the West side of the building. Consequently I was happy painting the north side. Such a charming building with it’s stacked doors and outside stairs.
As of late, plein air painting has a great following. When I was in my early teens I did a pencil drawing of the lake and mountains in our back yard. Little did I know that I was producing my first plein air drawing. There are currently so many very talented and successful plein air painters that compete in all the paint outs. My friend, who is a plein air painter, has recently invited me to join her for the season and I readily accepted. We have gone about five times now, and I am enjoying the challenge.....wind, sun, flies, fleeting light, umbrellas into the pond and all. I find it similar to figure painting from a live model....minus the wind, sun, flies, fleeting light, and umbrellas into the pond.
A fellow painter and I had permission to paint on Pierson's Ranch in Oregon. It took a while for me to find a subject that was inspirational but when I came across this old tractor I felt it had a story to tell. I liked the colors, although I pushed them, the shapes, and the message of years of tolling the land. The horizontal format fit doing a "portrait" of the tractor and it's wisdom. The foreman of the ranch was so excited to have us painting that he checked in a little too often, but we were quite thankful for the invitation.
Oh the wonderful world of plein air painting. To me it is very similar to working from a live model. You have time constraints and they are both moving and changing. I must say I don't miss the wind when painting from a live model. This painting was completed over two consecutive mornings. After the first morning I liked a lot of aspects of the painting, but felt it was not completed. I thought it was worthy of investing more time so I went back to the location the next day and painted for another couple hours. I was fortunate there were no changes such as the car moving or rain or city wide yard sales or parades......
Near where I live there is a wrecking yard named "Jim's Better Buys". It is a long time establishment in the valley. A fellow painter, Nancy Smith, and I painted there one morning in May of 2015. This painting was completed on site...which is always the goal. I had a warm toned panel and went for those big value shapes right away, drawing and painting at the same time. I never feel like I can take a break when plein air painting, unless I have to pee real bad, because time is so limited. If it is not an overcast day the shadows can change so quickly among all the other variables. Maybe that is why I enjoy it so much.....as always, it's the challenge.