Plein Air at the Creek

Creek Painting in Progress
Creek Painting in Progress

Preparing to paint plein air requires some forethought and action. I need to have canvas, easel, and all my brushes and tools packed up to carry with me. Once on location, I need to evaluate the scene from various angles, to determine just what I want to paint, and how I'll want to compose the picture. Sometimes I begin with taking some photographs and look at how they are composed. Other times I may just jump in, but even then I'll often take some photographs as I work or after I'm done with a days work on the painting. The actual painting may take as little as an hour or two, or it may take much of a day, or even span multiple days spent working on the painting. Some part may include work on the painting in my art studio.

In the summer, on hot afternoons, I like to visit Soquel Creek, which passes below my studio. It is a challenging location to capture in paint, yet the murmur of the water over cobbles is very soothing. I love to be here and observe nature. The pattern of light and shadow shifts fast, as the sun is moving through the sky from east to west, straddling the creek. I captured the shadow pattern first, in this first pass of a new painting. I will go back down to finish it, when the fog burns off by mid-day. I thought you might enjoy this short video of my observations of the creek as I studied it for this painting. (see some of my other videos here.)

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