More helpful tips o plein air paiting
The sky reflects the landscape so it is not pure blue. Bring the warmth of the landscape into the sky from horizon level and darken the sky at the top of the panel to suggest depth. A touch of yellow ochre or red to break the pure white and blue work well in the sky.
Keep the sky interesting with movement suggested in brushstrokes and color. Flat sky can make the landscape too static.
Sky holes in trees are darker than the sky in open space so tone the sky holes down a notch in value.
Mix your greens. Look at the color of the green rather than assuming it is one shade when it is completely different.
Consider the shape of trees and bushes. They are distinctive so try and render the shape with accuracy.
Forget about the leaves. We are after shapes. Also the nature of the tree. A eucalyptus tree is soft and wavy compared to a solid oak tree.
What part does indirect light play on the underside of the tree and branches? Lighten and warm colors to make allowance for this.
Aerial perspective – lighten and cool the colors in the distance. You will not be able to see reds and browns in the far distance so grays and cooler earthy colors will take over. Observe and mix accordingly.
Keep light consistent. A warm light will be consistent throughout for instance in the morning or afternoon so keep this in mind for harmony. Accurate color notes are a benefit of close observation.
Working outdoors or from life puts you in direct contact with the life force, not just the light and the landscape, but also the vitality of the world around you. (George Carlson)
Tips For Your Approach to Plein Air paiting
- Paint what you love. The results will speak louder if there is an emotional connection between you and the subject.
- Start with a small sketch. The two value notan is ideal to test your composition.
- Big shapes and distinct light and dark value changes make stronger paintings. Seek them out.
- Crop the scene with a viewfinder. Change viewpoints if this helps you make a stronger composition.
- You can leave objects out. Move or take out trees, buildings and roads for instance to make your composition stronger. Too many objects to move? Your subject may be the problem. Find another.
- Keep an open mind. Add a sense of humour. Paint for the love of it.
- Have a concept in mind. What attracted you to the scene? Keep this idea and stick with it throughout the painting.