I painted outdoors for 5 years. I did not like painting in a studio once I painted en plein air. I knew I’d have to go back inside one day… so in preparation for that day I built a new studio.
It is painted off white(including the floor) and has banks of 5,000 lumen lights overhead with a mixture of color balanced spot lighting. These past few weeks I’ve been in the studio painting…I”m painting large paintings from sketches and field studies; both water color and oil .
I have a practice of doing sketches, watercolors and oils on location.
Some are very rough.
I stand in one spot and keep recording what I am seeing.
I turn to my left and sketch and paint that view …
…then turn to my right and do the same…
I will walk around and try to capture enough detail and a feeling of the place for me to be able to remember what was important to me at that time.
I used the watercolor sketches to put together this oil painting. I’m trying for the essence of the place, the soul of the day…its not quite finished.
I do these very quick value/temperature studies to sample colors and see how much chroma the mood will bear.
I’ll do a fast watercolor just to get the feel of the action. These clouds were racing out to sea after a thunder storm cleared out.
A quick watercolor value study gives me a feel for the simple masses and the shape of things, like wandering with my mind through a place before I decide how I want to depict it. Its very liberating to do this. It helps me to get familiar and comfortable with a place.
On location I do rough sketches first, quick watercolors..then I often will do a series of quick 20 minute oil sketches back to back. Why? I’ve found that if I paint like this I will often have something good from the lot that I can take home and work with. I’m a real process painter. I do hundreds of starts, 5×7, 6×8, 8×10’s on location. So now I’m painting in the studio I have no shortage of reference material for these large paintings I’m working on.
Water colors ~ 6×8’s, 90 lb. sketch paper 6×10, 90 lb. sketch paper 8×12 300 lb. Arches rough
Oils ~ 8×10 linen on panel, canvas on panel