Plein Air Painting, Enjoying the Sun studio painting by Everglades artist JoAnn Sanborn

Enjoying the Sun

Enjoying the Sun is another in the elongated palm series I've been working on. I'm drawn to the way the palms inhabit there space. The intervals of space between them and the distance behind them continues to fascinate me. I'm sure that someday I'll wake up and not want to ever paint another palm but until them I'm excited every time I see a new arrangement!

It's Spring on Marco Island, and soon to follow in the rest of the country. I'm getting ready for a workshop at the Marco Island Center for the Arts the end of March. In preparation, I've been working on handouts, going over and revising some, and making some new ones.

Here are some highlights of my new Plein Air Handout.

Paints – ideally a limited palette
Easily portable, sturdy easel
Canvas or other support
Something to sit on if you need it
Hat, sunscreen, bug stuff
Water, to drink & clean brushes
Paper towels or rags
Trash bag - please take everything you bring with you when you leave

Painting Process
Don’t try to put it all in
Determine your focus
Do composition thumbnails to save painting time.
Decide horizon line – landscape or skyscape?
Decide canvas orientation - active (vertical) or passive (horizontal)

It’s a given that the light will change while you’re out there. Live with it!
Block in the main values simply and quickly.
Work all over canvas to ensure desired placement
Squint to establish your values – again and again!
Color basics in broad value swatches
Don't get tangled up in details too early.

Remember atmospheric progression
Grayer and cooler in distance!
Compare values and colors constantly.
Use strongest value changes and sharpest edges in center of interest.

Step away from the canvas frequently
To renew your acquaintance with the landscape
To refresh your eye
Looking back, you'll see areas that need attention

Once direction of light is set, don’t chase shadows!

Keep a sense of Place, but don’t hesitate to move landscape elements to improve composition.

Have fun, stay loose, and enjoy the view.