Sunday, April 13, 2014

Newbies No More

Every now and then, I offer a short 3.5 hr #sketching #workshop outdoors to introduce artists to the fascinating world of "en plein air" painting (literally, it means "in the open air").

Tippette:  Don't spend too much time trying to find the "perfect" spot.  You could spend hours walking around.  Settle down in short order, and get to work on whatever's in front of you, especially when everything's as lovely as it is in downtown, historic Charleston! 

Yesterday, we tackled architecture, that dreaded P word (perspective).  Drawing comes easy to some, and not to others.  For those of you that fit into the second category, I recommend two things:

1.  Buy yourself a copy of "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards and do the exercises in the book.  It's THE best advice I can give.  Click HERE for a link to it on Amazon.

2.  Buy a Compose-It-Grid and learn to use it.  See

I was careful, I thought, to pre-select our spot under the protective canopy of trees, as well as to choose a street that didn't allow parking in front of the houses.  Well, par for the course, a white minivan comes up and parks right in front of the house we were sketching.  But, this time, the nice lady walks over to me and says she's just going to spend 5 minutes unloading and will be on her way!  That was good news!  (The lady turned out to be a lawyer that rents that building.  She said that hers must be the most painted and photographed building in the city.  She said many brides choose to have their wedding pictures taken in front of the arches and gates in the brick wall!)
Here, I'm laying in my first wash.  Trying to capture those beautiful cast shadows on the building.  We take lots of pictures when the sun accommodates us (peeking through the clouds that hung around much of yesterday), so that we can later remember what to include as we finish our paintings in our studios.
Painting "en plein air" is invaluable.  My students are no longer newbies, overcoming their fear and hesitation of painting outdoors.  They learned a lot about how to truly see the relationships of one section (or plane) to another.  I gave my students a handout of my "en plein air" tips.  If you'd like a copy, email me at (remember to include the K in the middle of my name or it won't come to me) and I'll be glad to send you one!  And why not leave me a comment below about YOUR first experience painting outdoors!

Come paint Montreal, Maine, Charleston, and Magnolia Plantation with me in 2014!  In May 2015, we go back to Venice!!!  Find details HERE.