This past weekend I took a painting workshop with Frank Serrano, an Artist Member of the California Art Club, to learn urban plein air painting. I have been primarily working from photographs in my recent work, figure drawing is all I’ve really done working from life. I’ve painted outside a few times but never with any instruction. This was a great experience! Here are some photos of what I did on Saturday…
The pictures on the left show my reference and on the right are the paintings I did. Frank demonstrated before each new subject and explained his process. After the demo we were let loose to find our spots and whip out the paint. You can see in the first photo that I have 2 artists painting a different view sitting right in the middle of my painting. Thank goodness he told us we could leave stuff out!
In the early part of the day the light changed so much that you really had to nail down where your light and shadows were going to be so you didn’t keep changing things. By the time we left the first location it was 1pm and time for lunch. We moved to our next location in a more industrial section of Burbank. Frank really knows some interesting spots. I have to say I preferred the gritty industrial section of Burbank to the horse alley we started with. I love the little field studies I did that day, I didn’t have a chance to finish them as we ran out of light but I did learn a lot that day.
The main lessons I came away with were…
- Stay loose – don’t worry so much about the small stuff.
- Pick you focus and gray the other areas down.
- I’m the artist…if the picture is better with something left out or changed, do it!
If you can think of anything I missed or have any feedback, leave a comment I’d love to know what you think.
After just one day I knew I would have a different approach to photographs so I’m testing out my new skills…stay tuned!