Monday, August 17, 2009

Summertime in Paris


Took some time out from the frantic pace of weekend life to sketch the Eiffel Tower. I was experimenting with combining ink and watercolors on watercolor paper. A bit labor intensive for using on site. I first sketched the tower and trees in pencil. Then I went back and laid in the sky wash. Blotted it with tissues to get the clouds. Then washed in the trees. If you look closely, you can see where the trees bled into the sky wash. Oops.

To make the bleed look like it was part of the sketch and not a mistake, I waited until it was dry and then added some darker color so the bleeds appear as a second row of trees. (Click to enlarge.) I then washed in the foreground (lawn). After everything was nearly dry again (oops! the ink started to bleed), I started inking in the tower, building and trees. I washed over the ink to blur the lines (even more) so that they too had a watercolor feel. Start to finish took about two hours.

Things I like: The strong contrast between the building and the landscape, the depth and scale captured within the piece and that second row of bleeding trees!

Things I would do different: Probably not so much ink, or maybe no ink. Maybe not wash the ink lines.

I will be trying other media to see what will work best for capturing the essence of the scene but without so much labor. Time is fleeting when you're on location. I want to make sure that whatever media I finally settle on will allow me ample time to capture the scene with enough information that IF I had too, I could finish the piece later from memory.

10 comments:

  1. I like this too. I have never had ink spread like this before. Hmmm What kind did you use? I usually use Micron, which I think is best because it doesn't smear. Zigs are ok but they will smear if not dried.

    I am so slow. I don't know if I could ever do a real plein air painting.

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  2. I really like this painting. I admire anyone that can paint plein aire.

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  3. This looks like fun. Will be fun to watch everyone doing this.

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  4. Paris in August, painting outside...I would hope the weather isn't as hot and sticky as it is here! :-) Okay, this may be a bit of a cheat but just in case I don't get enough info down in my sketch - I take a picture. Relying on my memory of a scene just isn't quite what it should be!

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  5. Thanks for the kind comments!

    Lisa and Vicki, plein aire painting skills are like any others - they take practice and then more practice. But it's almost alway more fun to practice with others that are learning their way as well.

    Cris, thanks so much for stopping by! I'm hoping this will not only be fun but everyone will come away with some great skills and a confidence boost to do more painting on location.

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  6. This is a wonderful piece. You captured it beautifully!

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  7. OK, you could have picked a less difficult subject :) Starting with the line work alone is daunting. But you got this one. It’s beautiful.

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  8. I like the fact that you're still "trying other media." Somehow, new materials and methods seem to energize us. I have quite a selection of art supplies in various media... and I learn something any time I use them.

    Nice painting!

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  9. I feel as though I am in Paris here Laure!

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