Plein Air Painting in NW Arkansas – Part 1

Frank Painting

Frank begins painting as the sun rises over the field.

Friday, April 22, 2016 

This morning was my first art lesson from Tim Tyler.  Up at 5:00 to meet Tim at the Neighborhood Market and drive to the hay field just north of Cave Springs.  We parked along the edge of a dirt road just south of the hay field.  It was about 6:15.  There was a full moon over the ridge to the west.  We could see the large round bales in the field.  The bales were a shade of purple gray against the dark green grass.  The sun had not started to come over the ridge to the east.  There was a heavy blanket of fog coming off the creek between the ridge to the north and the start of the hay field.

Tim got out his camera and took several pictures of the field while I was squeezing out the oil paint we were going to use.  We put the cool colors in the upper left hand of Tim’s French box easel.  First was French Ultramarine Blue, followed by Thalo Blue.  On the right were the warm colors of cadmium red light, cadmium yellow, and of course white.  We put a touch of black in the lower left hand corner right below the Vandyke brown.

Once all the colors we were going to use were on the palate, Tim had me draw in the hay bales, the horizon and the foot of the tree line in the distance.  I used a thin burnt umber for this part of the process.  The motif quickly began to look like a Cezanne with distinctive angles coming to the front of the canvas.

The sun was beginning to come up but the grass was still a very dark green that we blocked in with a mixture of blue and just a bit of yellow.

We blocked in the house at the far end of the hay field with some small rectangles and made the tree line and the hay field meet at the far right of the canvas.

Now the sun was beginning to reach the trees on the ridge and we used yellow ochre to represent the sun as it touched the trees.  Things were beginning to move fast now and the sun reached the East ends of the hay bales.  We used a blue gray for the sides of the bales and yellow ochre for the ends with a little cadmium yellow.

By this time my hands were getting cold and we decided to call it quits for the day, and come back another time.  Tim taught me to put cellophane over the painting after it dried to preserve the colors.  We are not going to touch these colors in the studio as they would lose their brilliance.

Back at home it was time to clean the brushes and get ready for another exciting painting lesson.

Look for pictures of my progress on this blog.