Thursday, May 10, 2012

Elkhorn Creek from my kayak

Drawing with pastels while sitting in my kayak isn't the easiest way to create new work, but OMG, was the creek beautiful today. Bright blue skies with fluffy clouds, geese honking, bobwhites singing, a light breeze and plenty of water in the creek....a bit too much water. My plan to paddle up creek was a good idea but hard to execute - oh my aching arms, and I'm a bit sunburned. Forgot the sunblock.

Back to the art.

Part of the plein air experience is recording the image quickly and with enthusiasm because the scene changes so quickly, especially sitting in a boat. My expectations remain high ... to create something worth taking to an art fair. But sometimes that's not the real reason to work on location. Sometimes you just have to relax and enjoy all the sensory experiences and be happy with the day.

This piece was difficult - I tried to take in too much of the scene and ended up rubbing out the whole thing with a paper towel, which produced a good medium green underpainting. Then I took a big breathe, talked to myself about just enjoying the experience, and started again. Painting/drawing requires that not only you get into the "zone" but that you also watch what you're doing and respond to what is actually happening on the paper. I tried to view the pastel strokes as an abstract painting, checking the shapes and enjoying the color. It was fun watching my mind bounce back and forth between "watch the abstract shapes" and "oh, that doesn't look like a tree"

Tomorrow, when I work in my studio I'm going to use some of these plein air sketches and reference photos and see what new piece I can create.
"Elkhorn Creek May Day" 8" x 12" pastel on Wallis sanded paper

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