P.4 exercise: Painting outside.

I had been thinking about this exercise through out this part of the course. Every time I went out , I was scouting for locations and views that I though would be enjoyable to paint. I was anxious about this exercise as I have only ever painted in the studio or with other painters inside and when I have painted outside it was on my isolated farm in New Zealand. I saw someone painting at Government Acre recently and he was disrupted by people walking by and commenting on the practice of painting. People don’t comment on people having a picnic, or playing with a football and they don’t stop to talk to you in general. But when people see a person with a easel or paintbrush, suddenly its an opportunity to converse, as if its a performance. I am an approachable person as I have worked in retail for the last 28 years, but when I’m concentrating on a task, I preferred no interruptions. This is why I choose to paint somewhere that was private so I decided to paint at the Allotment which is situated by the grave yard on a hill. This location has privacy, has a view out over the busy allotment and over the Ramsgate rooftops, out to sea. I felt very comfortable in this location as it’s very quiet other than a squirrel fighting with the tree above my head and some strange bird songs.  The practice of painting I find must be completed within the environment that is creative. I feel this exercise of ‘painting outside’ was more about capturing a feel for a place/landscape, not so much replicating the view on canvas. The experiencing the moment and presenting that feeling within a canvas directs itself as an abstract association with a place.

On the first visit I looked at different angles of views such as low down as if sitting on the grass or standing. The first visit I didn’t take enough water pots with me so the colours became dirty and I lost depth of tone. Then I painted a wash of colour to block in the variations of colours. This aids composition as the first drawing had to much foreground and not enough back ground so it was to green. I balanced the colour blocks for the next painting. This time I spent to much time on details. Then I saw an Art tutor of mine and we got talking and then I had to go home so didn’t finish the painting.

The Second visit was more successful as I took my Oil paints and 3 small square canvases. I was more prepared but should have taken a heaver pallet board as this kept flying off in a random gust of wind. Unfortunately I left my hat at home and this did give me problems with adjusting to distance of view to canvas and the light, the colours of the paint would glare in the sun light . The changing colours and tones were forever moving, but instead of getting frustrated with this constant change of perception I become selective. When the sun was bright I would take in the colours and work from memory, knowing a cloud would soon positioned itself above, darkening the perception of the landscape so I ignored this view. I think the experience and the practice of drawing a moving figure is helpful when trying to capture a changing landscape. I had to sit and wait sometimes, knowing the image I wanted to capture would soon return and I needed to be ready to capture it. The sky is very white around the seaside as its either low cloud in from the sea, or damp misty sea air and can be very moody but its mostly white and dense. I choose not to correct the paintings later in the studio, but the colours do need attention as the light outside was much harder to understand than when you see the paintings inside. For example the tree in the middle ground is very prominent so this needs toning down so to reposition it into its correct location as its sitting severally dominate.

What I learned was that I prefer a location that is private as I need to concentrate and don’t like interruptions. The place where I paint effects the work that I create; if I’m in a peaceful location, where I have all my equipment to hand, I can focus. I enjoy painting in my studio because everything has its place, its comfortable. But painting outside is enjoyable as its experiencing the moment and working within a natural environment to create and represent that experience. As a society we relay on materials to aid us with living. Artist use equipment such as as IPad and cameras to help them replicate a digital image. On the TV show called’ Sky portrait artist of the year’ we see most competitors utilize the IPad technology to help them, even though the model is sitting a few feet from them. Here we see artists experiencing the intense moment of a competition , faced with a celebrity model, being interrupted and surveyed but they feel comfort sitting along side trusted technology such as the camera. We have the opportunity to have the moment of reality and the virtual moment captured in the past as a photo, simultaneously. We live in a technological era, and are encourage to embrace it positively as we will be more fulfilled apparently. I’m very cynical about this but I identify the positive side of photos, for example, I cant expect sitters to sit till I have finished or sit for long periods on the wet grass. Technology is beneficial but cant replace the experience of creating spontaneously.

 

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