First Attempt at Plein Air Oil, Crested Butte, August 12, 2010

First plein air oil painting attempt, Crested Butte

It’s getting late (and cold) in Almont, Colorado.  Like Eddie Albert on Green Acres climbing the utility pole to use the phone, I have to leave my cabin, cross the street and sit on the front porch of the general store of Three Rivers Outfitters to access their wireless Internet.

I didn’t have the courage to post a close-up of this painting, so I photographed it lying in the back of my Jeep.  Finally I worked up the courage to attempt a plein air oil painting.  Sandi and I were in Crested Butte all day, and it rained off and on throughout the afternoon.  Finally, I set up my French easel and went to work on the same church cupola that I watercolored en plein air from a different angle the other day.

It constantly drizzled on me as I toiled over this, but I’m not using that as an excuse.  I found myself in unfamiliar territory as I worked oil on canvas, and very little of it I found pleasant.  I guess I expected too much of myself on the first attempt.  It will certainly not be my last.  I’m glad I gave it a shot.  And I’m glad I was in Colorado when I did it.  I really wanted to try this in Kremmling several days ago, but the days were dark and overcast.  I also brought my equipment to Creede, but the constant thunderstorms also led me to decide against it.  Were this not my last day in Colorado, I would have allowed the weather to postpone my attempt as well.  I’m glad I saw it through.  Once I return home, I plan to set up the easel in the backyard and work further on this piece.

We leave tomorrow morning, early, for Lubbock, Texas and triple-digit temperatures.  I may find some plein air opportunity if I can find decent shade.  Not sure what I’ll find there.

Thanks for reading.

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4 Responses to “First Attempt at Plein Air Oil, Crested Butte, August 12, 2010”

  1. lesliepaints Says:

    Just to attempt oil is commendable, David. I have tried it, also. It is like working blind and starting over in some respects, especially in mixing colors. I tried it last summer. Have fun!


    • davidtripp Says:

      Thanks for commiserating-some trip huh?! This morning I pulled it back out and noted that it has zero contrast-all middle tones. And yes, the color mixing-I had no idea what I was getting into. I’ve got plenty to learn.


      • lesliepaints Says:

        Best laid plans and all that and then the weather says something and ruins it all. I can not take 90’s, here, to sit out and paint. That is what we have had this summer. I catch an 80+ degree day in and out of this crazy weather. I enjoy painting in oils where the artist lays color next to color (alla prima?). The one thing I have to keep in mind is covering the canvas support or a bunch of little white speckles show thru.


      • davidtripp Says:

        Yeah. I know a thing or two about plein air and fickle weather. Woke up this morning in Colorado to 36 degrees. Now driving through Texas and 100 degrees. I do want to explore broken color schemes in oil. All those wonderful theories just evaporated while I was thrashing around yesterday.


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