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« Show: Susan Powell Fine Art | Main | Plein air in Maine II »

Plein air in Maine III

On the Shores of Sebago Lake
9 x 12 oil on panel

Today was the very first day I have ever actually enjoyed painting outdoors. I have only done a small amount of plein air painting, only a couple weeks in addition to last year's month-long Hudson Fellowship. And most the time I am outside, I am wondering why I simply can't paint with the ease and enjoyment I feel in the studio.

Well, like anything, it's just a matter of practice. Today was a big step forward for me. It might have something to with the fact I was set up in the shade of huge pines, with a carpet of red needles beneath my feet, and the sounds of birds and distant motorboats around me... which is how I spent the happiest days of my childhood.

Road to the Summer Cottage
9x12 oil on panel

High on this morning's fun, I set up the easel again this afternoon and put in a 3rd session on the composition I started earlier this week, adding more color and light. I loved the challenge of the sandy dirt road with streaks of sunlight across it. I ended up painting the wheel tracks with a pale blue/lavender, and the streaks of sunlight with a warm salmon pink. My experiment was to show the sunlight with an emphasis on the hue shift, and less of a value shift. Since I mostly feel comfortable thinking in in value instead of hue/color, I've been trying to exercise my color skills. Outside there is even more range of value than indoors, so color is really the only way to approximate what the paint values can't accomplish.

My husband and I leave Maine tomorrow, so my painting vacation is done. Next week we visit our family in Pennsylvania and our days will be full with enjoying our young nephews and niece. I also have the pleasure of meeting up with my favorite Women Painting Women, Diane and Alia who are my amazing partners in managing the WPW blog and WPW Facebook page. Last New Year's we met up at the Met, this time it's the Philly Museum of Fine Art to check out some Eakins. Will keep you posted!!

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Reader Comments (6)

The Sebago Lake painting is wonderful.

July 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichael dean Springer

Glad you enjoyed painting in Maine. Sabego Lake is near when I live, in Poland Spring. You captured the look...

Sounds like your a busy girl! Enjoy.

July 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Roux

Hi Sadie - these are lovely. You have captured the beautiful dappled light that I, too, remember, from summers on a lake in Ontario. Interesting thoughts about plein air painting. I find it quite intimidating - the lack of control makes me very anxious every time I do it. But maybe it is just finding the right place. Pine needles under foot might be just the key. Enjoy Philly!

July 23, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersarah meredith

These two landscapes are filled with air and light . . . absolutely breathtaking.

July 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Elmquist

Hi Sadie, I love your plein air work. I am wondering about your process. On this particular painting did you begin with a brownish underpainting? (was that the underpainting below?)and then how many layers/ painting sessions did you need to get to this finish? Plein air is so different from studio, I am curious how you have adapted to the differences. I wonder when you were on the HRF it seemed more alla prima. Now... Your work is always beautiful. I look forward to your blog, even if I don't always comment. Thanks for all you do.Loriann

September 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterloriann

Hi Loriann!
I don't really have a set process, I have very little experience with plein air compared to studio work. For the one of the dirt road, I painted an umber underpainting in one session, and then did about 2 more sessions in color, on different days, for a total of 3 sessions.
The view of the lake at the top of this post was just one session, I started with a light color underpainting just to work out the composition and knock back the white of the canvas. It dried quickly so I just kept painting and switched to thicker/opaque paint and kept going all in one sitting.

You can see the underpainting of the dirt road painting in a previous post, just click the "plein air" category link over in the right column and you'll see it.

Thanks for your comments!!

September 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSadie J. Valeri
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