Painting From Real Life

This is one of my 8 x 10 studies I did in Scott Christensen’s workshop in Victor, Idaho.  I came home with 20 studies, not all great, but a few stood out.  The Red Barn was one of those, can’t wait to paint a larger painting from this study.  These small studies are valuable to the Plein Air Artist, they use many of these Plein Air studies for paintings done in the studio, which is better than using a photo.  The photo doesn’t give you accurate color, or value notes, and it doesn’t give you the beautiful colors we see in the shadows in nature.

In a photo they all look black, but that doesn’t mean you can’t paint from a paint from a photo, remember sky is the lightest, then the ground plane, perpendicular (mountains) and the darkest are your verticals (trees).  The studies are reference materials, if you keep them, they will give you yards of ideas, and subjects to paint when the snow falls, or you just can’t get out there.  With a stud, you  have the correct color notes, and value patterns, and  you can always add more details from other studies to your painting.  Now I think of my studies in a different way, not only do they hone your eye, but they create a rich resource of visual memories for enhancing your paintings for years to come.  Happy Painting!



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