Cedarburg Plein Air Painting Competition – Day Six: Main Event

Posted on June 20, 2011 in Blog Post, News, Plein Air Painting

There are days when I feel like the universe is a physical presence, actively working to prevent me from accomplishing what I need to. Today was such a day. I got a late start today, lots of errands to run this morning. As it was, it rained in Cedarburg for most of the morning, but had cleared by the time I arrived this afternoon. I stopped in to photograph my Quick Paint submission.

Next, I went back to the place I staked out yesterday and continued working on the same 8″ x 10″ painting. I wanted to have the option of putting in a highly rendered painting, something that showcased my drawing skills. The problem is that some of the details on this building were giving me fits. There are many hells for a plein air painter. Today was the hell of painting striped awnings. Here’s a look at the work in progress:

I spent much of the time working on different parts of this piece, as people would rudely park in front of me, obscuring parts of my view. The light changed throughout the day, but given the time of day, my subject matter remained largely unchanged, confirmation of a good decision. I managed to concentrate, despite the onlookers and occasional interruption. Before I knew it it was nearly 7pm. I decided that I was done on this piece for the day, and very hungry. I packed up, determined to come back here tomorrow afternoon to finish this piece, and got some food. Here’s a look at the view I had:

When I was done eating, I realized that I wanted to get another painting in, but the light was fading fast. Most of the day had a gray overcast sky and occasional fog. I decided to head out into the country to find a vantage that took advantage of the atmospheric perspective.

By around 7:30 I had found my site, five minutes later I was set up and ready to paint. I ended up wrapping up at 8:50pm, when the light was gone. It’s an interesting experience to be painting so late that the passing cars illuminate your canvas. Fortunately we’re in the height of the summer, so the ambient light from the overcast sky allowed me to work late. This was a difficult piece, having to desaturate and lighten the values of each section of color as it faded into the mist. Given the late hour, I had very little time to get this right. But I love fog, what it offers to the light.

Tomorrow is the Artist luncheon and painting demonstration. I’m planning to get there around 8:30 to work for three hours on a new piece before this, then head over for some conversation. I’ll probably end back at the same place I was today, given that it’s supposed to rain all day. Once I’m finished with this tight drawing, I think I’ll be doing some more paintings that are fast and loose.