Mark Kerckhoff Workshop, Day 2

The “Sausage Fest” continued today (did I mention that all the students are men? I guess Mark’s warning to “watch out for rattlesnakes” scared some people off–not you, Camille! :-).

High winds cut today’s painting day short, but we hung in there as long as we could. Even while sitting in the back of my SUV, I had trouble keeping my easel upright. That’s why plein air painting is tough, man!

I did one complete looser painting that I quickly wiped off and erased from my memory and digital camera. I know I should probably talk about looser paintings too, and why they’re so. Well, this painting’s elements (ground, trees, hills, etc) where not INTEGRATED. They didn’t harmonize. I got to punching up a green here, an orange there, and in the end it looked like a couple different ideas all struggling for attention. That reminds me, I have a blog post coming up on the power of simplification in your design. Watch for that soon.

Back to today. Here’s the first stage, following Mark’s technique of laying in flat, average values for each of the planes of the landscape. I’d also started laying in the darks, so this is stage 1+. The is a very basic, transparent wash in of neutral color–roughly of the eventual local color family.

Next, I started to hone in the color and value of each plane. In this shot, the hills, sky and a bit of the near palms are starting to take shape.

Now my intuition said to stop at this stage, and luckily the winds forced the issue. It’s so easy to overwork a painting and continue explaining beyond the necessary. Know what you want to say, and stick to it. As you can see here, I explained the ground plane a bit more, and this photograph doesn’t shot it, but the nearby palms as well.

Thousand Palms Vista – Oil on Linen – 10×12

I’m really happy with this one!

One more day of class. Check in tomorrow.

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