A morning plein-air at Rosehill


Getting ready for next week’s workshops while trying out a new watercolor set-up. Usually I use acrylic paint for plien air painting, but I wanted to see how my pochade box worked for watercolor. Here is the result, with a bit of the good and the not so good.

Yesterday I filled my watercolor pallet with all fresh paints, it looked great. Shut the lid, then placed it in my pochade box, figuring the paints would dry overnight. Packing up this morning I loved how much lighter my backpack was for watercolor, a positive.

When I opened the pallet after getting set up at Rosehill Community Center in Mukilteo. Oh, my! What a mess. The paint for the most part had dried, except for the Indian Red, and the yellow, they ran all over everything; instead of painting I spent time cleaning up, and succeeded in getting paint all over my arm.

Not to be daunted I pressed on.

I begin with a pencil sketch, not too much detail, just guidelines for an ink sketch.

Next, the ink. It is important to keep the ink loose, otherwise it looks like you are drawing a coloring book; broken lines, imperfect lines, along with squiggles here and there all work. You want a degree of spontaneity. In the finished sketch the ink should just suggest shapes, and add texture.

Ready for the paint, notice the mess on the pallet. I will have to give this another go after I get the pallet set correctly. It did affect the final outcome, but I’ll show it anyway.

First a light wash with the basic colors. Note that the building to the left is quite vague, I just wanted to suggest that something was there, but not show much detail. I also tried out a new diagonal shader brush, it worked well for the straight parts, not so well for foliage.

Here is the final. Like so many sketches we do it is a learning experience. Remember it is practice not perfection; next week’s will be better. Not sure I like using my pochade box for watercolor, but glad I tried. It made for some uncomfortable body positions, so I think my watercolor plein-air set-up is still in the development stage.

Workshop next week is full. Let me know about your interest in future workshops.

Hopefully my book will be out by next week, just a few tweaks left.

About Terry Christopherson

I sketch, I paint, I travel and eat, that is what my sites are all about.
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