Thursday, April 13, 2017

041217 12x16 Plein air spring

Such a gorgeous, perfect day!  Seventy degrees, sunny, low humidity!  In short, the best day ever!  I loaded up my EasyL pochade and Kelty backpack and headed out to the woods.  I walked one mile out a ridge and then dropped down to the creek, hiking another mile back up the creek.  I stopped at this spot to paint.
Only takes a few minutes to get set up.  I have to attach the pochade to the tripod and get out the panel and knives.  I discovered I only had one paper towel so had to make it last!  I had pre-loaded my palette with oils before leaving home.  Having to carry tubes of paint adds too much weight to the backpack.
I started with a quick sketch of pigment picked up with a brush dipped in cold pressed linseed oil.  Then started to paint in the shadows and crevices of the rocks. 
With spring, the colors are changing rapidly.  Spring greens are pushing through the "march mauves" of the decaying leaves creating a shimmering color.  I struggle to capture the beauty.  This is my first plein air painting of spring in the forest and I am a bit disconnected from mixing the right colors to convey the magic.  The creek is an ocher green with turquoise and cerulean highlights.  I usually use a mix of complementary purples and red-violets and bright spring yellow-greens but that combo didn't really seem to fit what I was seeing. 
Here is a shot further back from the painting with my dog, Kendra, ensconced on her bed of leaves.  Although you can't really see them in my photos, the forest floor is covered in wildflowers:  wild phlox, purple and yellow violets, spring beauties, trout lilies, Dutchman britches,  mother-in-laws tongue, and more!
Here's another long shot as I am near finishing the painting.  I added some of the wild, purple phlox to the painting before wrapping up. 
This shot was taken right before I packed up my gear and the painting and headed home.  I usually pack an extra jacket but didn't this time and it was getting a bit chilly as the sun went down.  I was ready to get moving and warm up.
"Spring in the Forest, April 12, 2017", plein air oil painting, 12" X 16", c. 2017 by Charlene Marsh

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