Sunday, 3 May 2015

General En Plein Air Tips

Here are a few tips to help you with en plein air painting in the Great Outdoors!

1.   Choose a good view (Move around to find a dynamic view, use L shapes or a viewfinder to find a good composition).
2.   Your position (Are you going to sit or stand? – choose one and stick to it).
3.   Take photographs (Take photo’s of your exact view, they may be useful later).
4.   Set up easel safely (Make sure it’s weighed down if windy, make sure it’s steady, tighten all wing-nuts and remember don’t block access points, be mindful of the public).
5.   Do pencil sketches (Creating small thumbnail sketches will help you focus your composition, write down notes on colours, tones and weather conditions).
6.   Note tonal values (Use a tonal value stick if you have one, note darkest areas).
7.   Do Colour sketches (Optional, use watercolours to do prelimary colour sketches).
8.   Setting out paints and equipment (You may wish to organise your paints and arrange any other equipment before you start).
9. Commit to your composition (Do not be tempted to readjust your painting should the sunlight or weather conditions change).
10.Keep yourself safe (Be aware of your environment at all times).

Where to Start Your ‘En Plein Air’ Painting:
You can either begin by painting ‘direct’ or you can follow the following steps…
1.    Establish a composition using L shapes or a viewfinder.
2.    Using diluted (thinned) oil paint to create an underpainting which outlines the general composition (use Burnt Umber, Yellow Ochre, Raw Sienna or a mix of Cad. Orange and French Ultramarine).
3.    Block-in the composition, by painting in the shadow areas first, then mid-tones, then light areas – use more diluted paint as you progress.
4.    Define the shapes in your composition.
5.    Start to paint the middle ground.
6.    Paint the background and sky.
7.    Step back at regular intervals to distance yourself.
8.    Paint the foreground generally.
9.    Add more details and texture to foreground.
10.  Paint the highlights and final details.

This week I am taking a group of learners en plein air painting and will do a follow up blog post next weekend...

Best wishes


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