Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Draw Where You Live

The other evening, I was inspired greatly while watching several YouTube videos on the subject of plien air painting.  Both of the artists featured in these videos are extremely successful and skilled artists. They are  Lori McNee and Jim McVicker.  I have signed up to take an online webinar with Lori McNee on the "Secrets of Social Media" and am very much looking forward to all that she has to share on that topic since I love blogging and FaceBook.

The video that Lori had filmed showed her painting a river scene that is just a couple miles from her home in Idaho.  She is there quickly catching the colors and lighting with her paints.    You can really see the scene unfolding as she works.  Right in the middle of her filming session, a moose comes wondering up the river like he wants to be a part of the painting.  I have experienced the thrill of seeing wildlife up close and seeing a moose while camping in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming was certainly a thrill.  I was immediately jealous of her ability to be surround my such amazing scenery with such a minimal effort."A Day in the Life of Lori McNee"

The video on Jim McVickers is actually a documentary on him as an artist.  It showed him traveling all over the rugged Northern California countryside painting from a variety of landscapes.  He never uses a reference photo but rather will return to the same location several days in a row or even up to a year later to capture the same lighting conditions.  The film showed several pieces as he started with just sketching roughly in paint and then immediately blocking in the canvas with vibrant colors.  The painting rapidly took shape as the camera man captured Jim working.  Jim McVicker "A Way of Seeing"

Being thoroughly inspired, I was determined to have a positive plein air experience of my own when yesterday when we decided to head out to the desert to do some 4x4 exploring.  I usually paint in acrylics but the air is so dry here that I struggle the whole time trying to keep my paints wet enough to even get it applied to the canvas so I packed my sketching box that includes my travel watercolor kit.    

With our lunch packed and some folding chairs thrown into the back of our old Toyota 4 Runner, my husband and I headed out to the hills.  The day was absolutely amazing.  We had an overcast sky and pleasant mild temperatures.  Usually the afternoon sun wears me out but there was a perfect blanket of clouds that allowed plenty of light but not the glare and radiation that you usually experience whenever you are out in the Southern Nevada desert.  

We did some exploring of some roads out near the area of Coyote Springs and while the scenery wasn't breathtaking and the wildlife we saw wasn't anything as impressive as having a moose walk past there was still something satisfying about sketching in nature.  I did see a couple lizards and a fuzzy tarantula spider that I guess can count as wildlife.  Now that it has finally cooled off enough here I will be heading out more often with my watercolor and pens to practice some plein air of my own.

My plein air sketch of some driftwood I found in the wash

Impressive desert wildlife

I always want to know what is at the end of every road I see.  Well this was the end of the road.

In my adventures that day we had to pass through a barbed wire fence.  My shirt didn't quite make it as you can see.

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