Saturday, October 17, 2009

recycled sky

10"x8" oil on RayMar panel...This was completed using the 'recycled sky' from a previous painting (see October 16th post). Both days were gray and overcast with scattered showers. I'm thinking about recycling other less than satisfactory plein air studies...letting the sky and foliage show through to the new painting.
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Friday, October 16, 2009

I kept the sky...

Sometimes a painting, no matter how hard you try, just doesn't work. This day I thought that the worst thing about the painting was the sky. It was dull, gray, overcast, misty rainy - just yukky as far as lighting and color. But as I finished the painting, I wasn't satisfied at all with anything -- except the sky. Very strange. So I wiped off everything - except the sky - and used the canvas for another painting. But I left the sky, which worked really well with the later work. Happy little accident?? No, I think it was just taking what didn't work at a particular time and using it another time...a recycling of time.
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Saturday, September 26, 2009

the importance of a good easel

Several people have asked about my Soltek easel and how it works. I've had a half dozen plein air easels - from a Julian French easel to a lightweight metal Winsor & Newton. But the Soltek is the Cadillac of easels.

(Click on the photo to see more details)

The Soltek sets up in about a minute. It holds stretched canvas or panels from about 5"x7" to larger than a 16"x20". It's totally adjustable as far as height, and even adjusts for uneven ground. There's a sliding mechanism in the legs that lets you adjust by the fraction of an inch.

The body consists of built in boxes that hold lots of brushes and all the paint you'd want to carry. It comes with a neutral gray palette that cleans like a dream. Nothing seems to damage it...not even high strength paint remover.

There are little "wings" that fold out on either side to hold used brushes, turp, etc. I use small rectangles of non-skid shelf liner to hold used brushes so they won't roll into each other. The non-skid liner also helps keep my palette in place.

Closing up in a breeze. The palette fits perfectly into the box, the "wings" close over it, and the "mast" folds down to lock it into place. With the touch of a finger, the legs telescope back into themselves and I'm walking to the next painting site. There is a wide padded shoulder strap that can be positioned in several ways, as well as holes where I use a bungee cord to hold a roll of paper towels. It also comes with a clip that lets you attach a wet painting or panel to the closed easel for transport back to the car.

It can even be used as a table easel. The box shelf can be positioned horizontally or at any angle that's comfortable.
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Friday, September 25, 2009

editing what you see

When painting en plein air, artists often edit what they see, choosing not to paint photographically. A photograph is an instant captured moment in time just as the scene appears. But while painting en plein air, the artist has time to become acquainted with the subject. There are choices to be made, items to be left out, things to be rearranged, colors to be shifted. Plein air artists can choose to capture the scene before them precisely as it appears. However, the artistic inclination is to render the scene as it appears in the mind's eye. Filtered through the artist's creativity, the finished painting is unique in all ways.
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