Painting Plein Air with Edge Pro Gear’s Sketchbook Easel – Los Angeles K.L. Britton

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Sunday was a beautiful, warm day in Arcadia at the Peck Road Park.  A group of us learning from SaiPing Lok (Simon Lok) went our to watch him demonstrate and give it a go.

People always ask about my easel because it takes approx. 4 minutes to set up.  It’s so portable and easy, and the magnetic canvases also delight.  But let’s get to the details.  After I set up, I put on my canvas, which I had already coated in a wash of ultramarine and sienna and was dried.  My canvas here is 6″x6″, a size that allows me to get really creative with composition without having to decide whether “portrait” or “landscape” mode would be better.

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Here is my finished painting, an outcropping in the lake with moutnains, reflections, and a tree.  “Local III – Arcadia” Oil on panel, 6″x6″

It was great fun to go out and paint with everyone, I feel always that I learn so much each time I actually pick up the brush outside.  But I am still not “there” (where I want to be) with my landscapes.  In my head, I go through the ideas of atmosphere:

  1. The objects farther away from you will have less contrast and less value changes than the ones closer
  2. The objects farther away from you will be desaturated compared to those in front.
  3. The local colour is important, but the colour of the light/shadows are just as important or more, and since the light is more or less consistent in your subject, make sure you are adding the light colour to each light mixture.

However, this still looks like a rock with some trees, and I’m not at all certain my water really reads as water.  It just takes more and more practice until I understand where I went wrong here, or what is just ever so slightly off!  I actually think my painting has a beautiful mood, a lot like what I was trying to capture with the soft mountains of Arcadia and the peaceful feeling of the lake compared to the city around it.

I did run into a slightly bigger problem with my Edge Pro Gear Sketchbook Easel today, though.  It was a warm day, and when I opened the easel to paint, the paint had slid around quite a bit, despite the fact I had even used a palette knife to keep in on.  Of course, the glass has no tooth for the paint to hang on to, but just a heads up that particularly on warm days, your paint can be moving around.  It was a pain to clean but it was still worth the little added effort compared to my other easels that take longer to set up.

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Check out Peck Road Park

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Beautiful

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On the way out, in the twilight, the moon 🙂

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Thank you for reading!!

 

The Lake – Daily Art Tips by K.L. Britton Los Angeles Artist

This weekend was a busy one.  I wanted to get some good outdoor painting in, that’s somewhere you can really learn about the properties of light.  When the sun is rising and setting, it gives a warm, yellow glow.  When this happens, the shadows become much, much cooler.  Think of the way the sunset is – you can see the clouds closest to the setting sun are still lit by it, a bright yellow, and that contrast with the greys, purples, and blues of the shadows of the cloud (as well as any pink turns and highlights) are what give that striking feeling to the sun.

As the day goes on, the sun gets a little less bright yellow/orange.  It’s still a warm light, all sunlight is, but it changes hue during the day.  This is a very great time to work outdoors, during the day when the light is more steady, to get practice painting cool shadows.  Objects and items are almost perfectly their local colour at these times.  All you have to do is cool down the shadows by adding some ultramarine. 😀

If you’ve ever tried to capture a photo of the sunset, you know it’s not the same.  It’s always too light, too dark, too over or undersaturated.  Only when you’re painting outdoors can you really capture those light patterns and the patterns of other natural lighting.

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You can see here how warm the sun is in the beautiful gardens.

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But here you can see, the local colour of the fixture was “grey.”  Instead of making a “warm” grey, I made a cool shadow colour, giving the indication of a warm light by being a relatively cool shadow colour.

In painting relativity is everything.  It’s ok to use a cool colour in a warm light, but make sure your shadow areas are even cooler than that, so the eye will perceive the light areas as “warmer.”  If you think about this in the case of mixing skin tones – you can start with almost any tone that’s the same value as your subject – because your relative and surrounding colours can make it loook relatively cooler, warmer, brighter, etc.  I have done skin tones with white and a touch of cadmium red or alizarin crimson.  I’ve also done just white with orange – as long as the shadows were warmer or cooler based on the light, it came out like skin.

Thank you for reading!