A Magnificent Plein-Air Day of Watercoloring

Plein Air Watercolor Sketch #1

Plein Air Watercolor Sketch #1

Plein Air Watercolor Sketch #2

Plein Air Watercolor Sketch #2

This morning, my painting buddy Chris and I piled our equipment into my Jeep around 8:30 and motored south to Ennis, Texas, to Love Park.  We found a large gathering of plein air painters from the north Texas area that we are fortunate to join from time to time in these excursions.  The day was sun-washed, about 60 degrees, with pleasant winds.  Bluebonnets infested the area, and most of the oil painters were standing completely enveloped in them as they painted their surroundings.

I chose a spot across the road from them, that had more cedars than bluebonnets, and I made two attempts at watercolor sketching these subjects.  Pines and cedars have always flummoxed me in watercolor (and still do).  I spent the entire morning, and early afternoon, staring at one single cedar, half in shadow, with a scattering of bluebonnets beneath.  I admired the view blissfully, and worked very hard, trying to match up the reddish-green tints that clothe the cedar.  I tried Quinachridone, Permanent Rose, Winsor Red and Cadmium Red.  I mixed in some Transparent Yellow, and occasionally Cadmium Yellow.  Nothing seemed to work in the final analysis.  I also studied hard the separation of shadows and mid-tones in the mass of the cedar, and enjoyed all the nuances I saw in those middle tones, the primarily warm colors, and the cools in the shadows.  I worked on those as well.

The bluebonnets–well, this was my second attempt in about four years with those.  I never can seem to make them “pop” out of their environment of green on my paper the way they do on earth.  I don’t have a clue yet what that secret is.  They looked pretty good against the white paper, but disappeared as I floated light, subtle greens around them to give them a “home.”  I guess I’ll have to work on that problem another day.

It was a very pleasant experience, the plein air sketching today.  I met some fabulous new friends that I look forward to seeing again.  We plan to gather at PrairieFest in Fort Worth on April 27 for another day of plein air bliss.

Thanks for reading.

I paint to remember.

I journal because I am alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone. 

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4 Responses to “A Magnificent Plein-Air Day of Watercoloring”

  1. Playamart - Zeebra Designs Says:

    as always, very nice post! no, you are not alone, and the solitude of painting is always a healthy place to be! z


  2. djdfr Says:

    Pondering the bluebonnet problem. Maybe something to do with complements.


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