Painting plein air at another beautiful Kentucky farm, I continued my experiment of painting small. Using 5x7-inch panels led to a plein air first that was twice as nice. I sketched two studies in oil in three hours, the time it usually takes me to do one painting.
I sought out the first scene that was purely landscape with no buildings or complexities. I did most of the work with a palette knife to get the effect of thick paint in the sky, trees and tall foreground grass. I seem to get cleaner, purer color with the knife. I did use the brush to smooth out edges in the distance.
The second painting was back to my old ways of including a barn, but it was distant enough so I didn’t have to fuss over architecture. These quick studies are not finished, even though I signed them. I would like to consider all of these summer studies for a future, large canvas in the studio on a rainy day or, more likely, during the cold, dreariness of winter.
When I got home and studied both paintings, I didn’t find too much to nit pick on the first landscape. But the second one taught lessons that I could fix in the future. The barn needs to be a lighter value. Because I have it as dark as the foreground fence post, the barn does not appear as distant as it should.
I always struggle with barb wire fencing. Even the thinnest rigger brush leaves too thick of a line. I tried to scrape out half of the mark and even fade the edges with the grass. But this is something I will be aware of and can fix in a larger, studio painting. In fact, this is an example where a much larger painting might work better. Thin lines for barb wire would be easier to do when everything else in the scene would be at least four times bigger.
The lesson to try is to see what happens when you go super small with a plein air oil study. This forces you to simplify and pay more attention to the focal point and exactly what struck you about the scene in the first place.
This painting was at the farm near Harrodsburg of artists Tay Breene and Mac Reid.
Debbie Johnson Winbun also was featured in this video. She is a member of Plein Air Artists of Central Kentucky and of Plein Air Painters of the Bluegrass. See her work on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1683306301889691/user/1336789269/
Check out the work of talented artist Marilyn Sadler, also featured in this video: http://www.marilynsadler.com
View my gallery of original oil paintings:
See and learn more at https://www.rogersnell.com
I am a member of Plein Air Artists of Central Kentucky and of Plein Air Painters of the Bluegrass.
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