Saturday, October 2, 2010

Oct 2, '10 at the farm

Oct 2, '10 -- sketch with paint and brush

It’s apparent today that Fall is in the air.  After 3 or 4 days of warm weather with high humidity and a lot of rain,  today is sunny and cool with a predicted high of 61-63 degrees.  There’s a lot of color in the changing leaves and the freshly harvested pumpkins displayed alongside the Storage and Sales building at the farm.  The grass was a vivid green having been well-watered & invigorated by the 3 days of rain.

Also, wind was a factor today.  The place we chose to sit was somewhat out of the wind as we were protected by the bulk of the apple storage facility close-by but wind was still a pesky factor to be dealt with.  I can’t recall how many times the wind blew down the stalks of corn leaning against the building and at one point, I had to retrieve my painting when it was blown out of my lap and landed a few yards away.  I wore shoes with socks, (no sandals today) and a warm vest over long-sleeve shirt and jeans and a windbreaker over all.  I also wrapped my small blanket across my lap and legs as I sat and painted.

Still, a great day to be out and engaged in capturing a moment in paint.

I got to the farm about 20 minutes before the others and had a little time to warm-up with a few thumbnail sketches that I did with a ball point pen because I couldn’t readily come up with a pencil.  By the time I sat down to paint, I felt confident that I could simplify my painting process by doing my initial drawing/value pattern on watercolor paper with brush and thin mix of Burnt Sienna.  Which I did and enjoyed the process.  I saw my middle ground (trees against the horizon, boxes for apples) as being cool and dark, which is why, in the original sketch I darkened those areas with Burnt Sienna.  When I was ready to paint in that area, I used some of the Burnt Sienna mixed with UB and CY and filled in that area with increasingly thicker mixes until the wetness of the area was covered and well saturated, which is my interpretation of something I learned in the class I took in North Bennington VT last weekend.  

Today’s painting is done on Arches 140# hot press, which is quite smooth.

As far as I've gotten by Noon....
I did the sky next and started out with a very wet tint of Cadmium Yellow, starting at the horizon and grading out the CY to the top of the paper.  I left most of the CY at the bottom.  Before that layer was dry, I started working a wash of UB from the top of the paper to the horizon, then worked in a thicker mix of UB into the top and let it blend into the layer I’d put down initially.  The area near the horizon was still quite wet, so I mixed a very thin mix of UB and Alizarin Crimson into the wet & yellow area near the horizon and lucked-out in that my thin mix was somewhat thicker than the water/paint in that area and blended in smoothly.  The UB and AC made a violet which, when blended into the yellow gave me a bluish-gray and settled the sky into the right plane.

I thinned (lightened) the mix I’d used in the middle ground to use in the fore-middle ground and ran it down into the foreground, adding lighter colored and more thickly mixed pigment to the foreground while the area was still wet.

I gave the storage barn a washy tint of orange mixed from CY and CR.  After it dried, the barn glowed a little more from the orange and in contrast with the blue of the sky.  When that wash was fairly dry, I used a darker (thicker) mix of the violet I’d mixed for the sky over the tree line in the shadow cast by the corn.  I used Burnt Sienna (BS) and the orange + some CY from the tint I’d mixed to indicate the shadow and light area of the pumpkins.   And BS and UB to heighten the color and shadow of the corn.  And that’s as far as I got before it was time to pack up and go.

It was a social morning not only between me and my 2 fellow painters but from people who’d come to buy Produce and stopped by to see what we were doing.   At one point, an apple customer called out my name and I was very surprised and pleased to be reunited with a woman who I’d known since a child – from school and the schoolbus and in later years as a fellow employee at a newspaper where we worked for a number of years.

This is week #8 for painting at the farm and we've had nothing but good weather every Saturday morning -- so far!   I've committed to another 6 weeks, which will be interesting.



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