Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought, where they write about ideas and creativity. Diane posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome as it turns an article into a discussion.
Wednesday, May 09, 2018
In studio verses outdoor painting
Above is an early stage of the painting. I was painting the last days of our birch tree that was rotten and had to be cut down. I liked the transparencies of the watercolors with gloss medium to make them permanent. The painting I did from my studio window didn't have the excitement for me. I started several more of the tree outdoors.
The next day painting outdoors, the elements of breeze and sun made a great difference in feeling the energy. Why? Was it because I needed to be more direct, spontaneous and fresh? I favor the paintings that happen outdoors maybe because I feel the pressure of the elements. I must say the most important things from the first stroke of paint. I get right to the essence of a primal experience.
In this photo the yellow is brighter than in the original.
I started it the day before the tree was fallen and completed it as the arborists cut down the tree. The spring light makes my paint appear brighter outdoors. When going back indoors to view the painting, the colors are often too dark.I had to go back and forth viewing the painting in both locations and making adjustments because it was intended to be seen indoors.
The tendancy for me is to make my outdoor paintings too dark. The darkness is partly caused by acrylic paint darkens hours after first painted. As I paint outdoors more as spring becomes summer I adapt my paint to be lighter than what I see outdoors. On this series the next I painted over the dark colors.
In the above painting rubbing alcohol lightened darks. Another method to brighten the rhododendrons was adding layers of whites.
In this series I found working indoors more comfortable even with the complex process of using dilute gloss medium. After working some paintings outdoors, I came back to the indoor painting. I did negative painting with complimentary blues behind the branches. The rhododendron flowers matured. Pink leaves poked between blossoms. The birch leaves glistened in the afternoon light and maybe this almost documents the shimmer.
In conclusion: Painting outdoors often has more satisfying end results for me. Also so far the outdoor use of watercolor and dilute gloss medium doesn't work for me. Painting in acrylic or oil are the best methods outdoors for me. Acrylics can be diluted for transparencies like watercolors so the range of paint qualities. The only reasons I was using watercolor paints with gloss medium was that they would be lighter weight in airplane traveling. Watercolor with gloss medium does not need to be covered with glass.
Maybe with more experience and modifying my outdoor equipment, I can make the technique workable. Next Wednesday I will also address framing and hanging of the tree series.