|Plein air study of shadow shapes, 6×8 oil on canvas panel|
I didn’t have plans to paint outdoors today, but when I took the dogs out after their breakfast I was blown away by the beautiful weather. I was very tempted to set my easel up outside to find something to paint, but there’s always an accident to clean up when I leave them alone. I say “accident” but it feels more like revenge. In any case, I remembered something I heard from Matt Smith the other day (either in a podcast or one of his video courses I recently purchased) about listing his excuses to not get outside with his paints, and knocking them out one by one. It inspired me to get out there, even though I was certain I’d have to clean the floor when I got back inside.
Which I did. But it was totally worth it. It was perfect outside — not too warm, not too cold, and the sun was out, making a strong shadow pattern on the sidewalk. Since this shape established the structure of my composition, I quickly sketched out a thumbnail of it before it moved too much as the sun got higher in the sky.
|Quick sketch of light and shadow shapes|
I used a limited palette of ultramarine blue, naphthol red, cadmium yellow pale hue, and titanium white. A neutral grey would have been useful to lower the chroma of some of the colors, but I didn’t bring one out with me. Plus it’s kind of fun to see the vibrancy of the colors I mixed compared to the dullness of the photo I snapped as I was selecting my scene.
|The view I used for my study|