I don't know about you, but plein air painting when the snow is flying, and it's in the 20's is not my idea of fun. Frostbite and frozen paint is not a pleasant painting experience. What I rather do is collect interesting subject matter throughout the year with my digital camera or iPhone, download to my iPad and lock myself in my studio with a hot cup of coffee.
How do you get around not being overwhelmed by the surroundings?
Try using a 'Viewfinder.' Cut two 'L' shaped pieces of mat board and clip together. This isolates your subject matter and will help with your photo reference composition. Keep a pair of these in your backpack because you will eventually use them when you start plein air painting.
What are you looking for in a good reference?
First look for the contrast of value. A strong light source is essential. Second, having a few large shapes balanced off with some smaller shapes.
A good reference is important not only for inspiration but structural evidence and good definition.
How do you use a reference to your best advantage?
I identify the direction of the light source. Decide what to eliminate and focus on where the center of interest will be placed.
Capturing scenes with a video camera is easier than ever with your smart phone
Capturing views on video with stop action will allow you to see different movements. Whether people, water or clouds, every second can change the flow in the rush of the moment.
It can also be a historical record of weather conditions. In the case of Kakabika Falls the water flow is down to a trickle exposing a prehistoric beauty. We may never see this again in our lifetimes. With the video I can study the most Intimate details of nature. To view photos of the falls in years past click here and see the astounding difference. Below is our visit a year later and look at the difference in water
Kakabika Falls, October 2012
It can also be a historical record of weather conditions. In the case of Kakabika Falls, the water flow is down to a trickle exposing a prehistoric beauty. We may never see this again in our lifetimes. With the video, I can study the most Intimate details of nature. To view photos of the falls in years past click here and see the astounding difference. Below is our visit a year later and look at the difference in water.
I highly recommend you revisit locations at different times of the year. I feel this helps deepen your understanding of nature.
- Study the lighting
- Colors influences
- While you are out capturing your photo reference take a sketchbook. Make a good sketch of lights and darks – to create a strong image.
Talk about aerial perspective
- Observation into the landscape will show you about values:
- Lights get darker in the distance, and darks get lighter in the distance.
- Colors are warmer in the foreground and cooler in the background as they recede. The exception - snow. It is reversed.
- Details lesson in the background.
- The intensity of colors greys down in the background and cools.
- The secret of a good painting is in the greying of the colors.
Taking time to unwind and connect with nature to improve your health and capture the best photo reference. Remember forest bathing is retreating to nature to immerse in the forest atmosphere and bring that feeling back to your studio.
#ForestBathing #PhotoRefference #Watercolor