Thursday, August 21, 2008

Plein Air Drawing

Sometimes the dawn is faster than you are. So a quick series of drawings have to record what you will later paint. Major forms, quick notes and impressions jotted down in just a few minutes. All while thinking ooh and ahh. The mind and the hand must work quickly, the light is dawning right before you. Changing everything slightly as the minutes pass.

Those words on the drawings are color notes. "Gentle pink", "light b/white", "cobalt blue" and "greys" for the not yet lighted water. On the one, there are also numbers. Those are value notes. Dark to light, or maybe the reverse. Then there are impressions, impact phrases to myself. The last drawing is from the afternoon, so I could note the difference.

Today, I am out to decipher the drawings. And play with the Kremer paints. Simple? Maybe. A literal translation might work. But that part, that part of ooh and ahh. There's the rub. Turning light and evanescence into pigmented water on paper that says "here's what I felt"....well, there's the challenge today. It may take a few tries.

Yeah Brush, if your boat tips over, you just go for the center board and get it sailing again. Fall down. Get up. Screw up a piece of paper. Get another one. Let's go play with that paint.

What's up for you today? Going to make any mistakes? Going to push any edges? Try something different. Even something small. I'd love to hear about it.


A Brush with Color said...

Great little film clip!

Your little preliminary sketches are fabulous--it's fascinating to learn what someone else notes. I like your number system for values. Those Kremers are a treat to work with--I can't wait to see what you produce with them.

A Brush with Color said...

And yes--you're going to LOVE their granulating quality--they're positively luminous. Kremers always make glowy paintings, in my opinion. I love them. I just wish I had them in a million colors.

Janice C. Cartier said...

@a brush-They are rich. I know I will want more colors too.
Necessity brought the numbers out- things happen fast, not enough light yet for paint or photo at the time. It's a very minimal landscape (really water and sky scape with a little land tossed in) . So each part is very important. Like haiku.

I am off to tackle it. : )

ParisBreakfasts said...

The Sailing Olympics! :O
I love your open pleins..
most restful..

Janice C. Cartier said...

Hi PB- needs to make the paints speak haiku too. :)

Anonymous said...


Why not just record the colors with a photograph?

(Not criticizing, just askin'...)

I always like find out how other artists think. :-)

Because I've tried color notes, I've tried Pleine Aire, I've done preliminary sketches...but it just dosen't work for me.

I'm one of those guys that needs photos to help reproduce what I saw.

- Friar

Janice C. Cartier said...

Good question Friar- I have photos of most everything too. And sketches done at the same spot of what ever I photograph, and journal entries. I need those too. Anything and everything, if I cannot do the work right there. I used to do everything in the field, but it isn't practical all the time. Especially since I do huge, time intensive pieces. It has to do with , um, more the feel of the place. The photos interpret a bit for us, so I want to make sure I have down what made me care enough in the first place to even think about painting it...or snapping the pic. ( I am trained in zone system photography too. Ansel Adams stuff. )

These particular drawings were done as the sun came up. This was the view out the window from my bunk in the "women's" cabin of the boat. Yep three females in our underwear mostly asleep in our bunks. It was very early in the am. The rest of the boat was still quiet. I did not want to wake anyone up, but I did not want to miss this sunrise. So I grabbed the nearest sketchbook and a pencil. ( it was still too dark for camera) And quickly sketched to capture just about the most perfect way to wake up, out in the middle of paradise , well, almost perfect the perfect way. :)

Too much information? or does that give you an idea of what I am thinking. Love to talk this stuff.

The photos are great. I use them alot. But what makes the difference and why I get the big bucks( tongue in cheek ) is that I put myself into each piece that I do. And the more I can engage, the better the painting. Does that make sense?