Thursday, April 9, 2015

Spring Studies and Bluebonnets

@ Turkey Bend Recreational Area, Marble Falls, Texas

Today I joined our Plein Air Austin painting group out in Marble Falls, Texas, to paint at the Turkey Bend Recreational Area (real name!).  Rain is moving in this weekend and as the bluebonnets are at their peak, the rains will probably knock them around a bit and cause grass to outgrow the flowers, so now was the time to paint them.  Though the water is still very low on Lake Travis because of the drought, the views at Turkey Bend are still gorgeous, with bluebonnets temporarily making up for the water loss in covering the ground in blue.  

You might be able to make out in the last photo that I chose to do four small studies rather than one more polished painting in the time I had (about two hours).  I can thank Jill Carver for this idea--more on the seismic-shift workshop I recently completed with her in another post (one reason I haven't posted in a month). Since I didn't have much time, rather than rush through a piece and be frustrated, I divided a 12 x 16 panel into four sections, and timed myself on four studies. I did spend about 20 minutes making several thumbnails in my sketchbook first. The first two studies were 15 minutes each, the second two were 30 apiece.  Note: they are not intended to be a finished piece--they are raw studies. The purpose is getting accurate color notes and the values correct, so that with my sketches and photos in the studio I can create one or more larger pieces. I found several compositions I liked, and simply turned my easel around to the next view when I was ready for the next study. I really like this way of working....I felt super productive and came away with material for several paintings.  Pretty fun!

-julie davis


liz wiltzen said...

Way to go Julie! So great that you're carrying the learning on after the workshop - you're inspiring me!

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

I've been doing the same thing this past winter while painting water lilies in Florida.
There's just too much going on in the scene to get a good finished work.

Studies are the way.