Painting plein air at Pier 44 Garden in Red Hook, Brooklyn:
Every Friday of this month I’ve been joining the outdoor painting class taught by Professor Gregory Crane at SVA. It works wonders for studying colors in a natural environment, observing light and just enjoying painting outdoors for a day (while it’s cool).
Both paintings were done today—the first one in the morning and I painted till noon, and the second one I started five minutes before it started to rain, and finished at home from memory.
Today was a very humid day by the water, and the color of the sky changed every five minutes. We stayed away from the sun by setting up underneath the trees (whose leaves were all curled up like a Van Gogh painting from yesterday’s sun, perhaps). Even in the shade it was hot and humid like a sauna. But the sea breeze helped, and the smell of sea plants and water creatures reminded me of the days when I lived on a boat in Seattle.
I’ve been slacking off at documenting the process, and next week will definitely finally remember to bring my camera. Every time the class happens I get up at 7:00am, pack my painting tools and easel and it is always already time for me to run for the train!
Landscapes are not my usual subjects and oil is not the medium I use for my professional work. But I’ve always loved experimenting with oil and it is helpful in so many ways for working in other mediums. Besides learning about atmospheric perspective and finally learning how to use oil better, painting outside helps me a lot with learning to use subtle yet unusual colors, studying the mood of a picture and simplifying things in a composition. And it is fun even when I’m sweating to the edge of passing out or have nothing to eat till 3pm! It is nice to use brushes and have a full range of colors at the same time, since I always paint ink in black & white when I sketch live and use the computer to color when I do illustrations.
I’ll be sad when the class officially end next week, but I think I’ll be sneaking out of the house myself just to paint outside.
(and happy to have something to write a mini-paper about! yay!)