Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Plein Air Day 2

It's been two weeks since my first Plein Air class, due to never ending rain, class was canceled last week. But it was a beautiful day for outdoor painting and I already had in mind my next subject. The San Remo building has always grabbed my attention, and how can it not? It stands over Central Park West, majestic and proud. This jewel was designed by architect Emery Roth, and construction began in 1929 at what is now 145 Central Park West.
Today's lesson focused on a strict earth tone palette. As Rob Zeller explains, for hundreds of years artists didn't have many colors available, just whatever natural earth colors existed in their area. By using Ivory Black, Yellow Ochre, Red Ochre, and White I had to come up with all the hues needed for a landscape.
I started working without missing a beat, I found a good spot to paint San Reno, and all I hoped for was not to mess it up. Trying to capture such massive structure on my small canvas was tricky.
After I figured out my composition I began working in the sky and the tree line. I was amazed at the different kids of green I could get by only using Ivory Black, Yellow Ochre, and white. Same with the sky, which was a mixture of Ivory Black and white.
San Remo, 2009, oil on canvas, 8 x 10 inches
This is the product of today's labor. After working with this palette I began to understand Corot and his contemporaries. So many times I looked at the little landscapes at the Met and used to wonder how they got some of those nice but muted greens. Now I know. My next assignment for next week is to make a copy of a Corot using this palette. I know I'll enjoy it, the hardest thing will be to pick one out of many beautiful Corot paintings.

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