Welcome to the blog site of fine artist Julinya Vidigal de Vince. This site offers a series of short articles on various subjects related to the creation of fine art. These articles also provide links to works by Julinya Vidigal de Vince.

Plein Air Painting - Part IV

Plein air painting is the art of painting out of doors. This is Part IV of a five part article on plein air painting. Part I provided a brief history of plein air painting and discussed its purpose and goals. Part II discussed the preparations necessary for plein air painting. In Part III, we talked about the supplies needed when painting en plein air. Now, in Part IV, we will discuss creating the painting and dealing with spectators.
Creating the Painting
Work freely and loosely. If you begin with a drawing, make sure this is loose as well. Simplify what you want to do because you’re working within a limited time frame. Think about the dimensions of your canvas or paper, and customize your scene to best enhance its format.
Start with a simple palette; more colors can be added later. Begin by putting in the main shapes, tones, and colors. Then, as you continue building the painting, you can introduce more color and gradation of tone. Blend quickly so that the colors being mixed aren't thoroughly blended. This will add an incredible vibrancy to your painting. Use the camera as necessary. You may want to catch the long shadows and cool colors of the early morning or late afternoon.

Plein Air Painting - Parati's Relais Chateau
Remember that the scene will change throughout the day. The sun moves across the sky, affecting light and shadows, and the weather may change as well; early morning haze or cloud cover may burn off as the day gets warmer. Changes in the type of light, and in the angle of the light, also will affect the scene.
• Clouds in the sky will cause shadows to become grayer.
• Haze or smog in the air will reduce the contrast between shadows and direct sunlight.
• When the sun is at a 45 to 50 degree angle, contrasts of light and shadow are accentuated, and texture is more readily apparent. Use this time to add your brightest colors, your most dramatic tonal contrasts, and to capture the textural surface you want in the painting.
If you have plenty of time and will be at the site for several days, consider bringing the supplies you need (canvases, boards, several pages of watercolor paper, etc.), and painting separate pieces for the various times of day.

Plein Air Watercolor Painting - La Baquette Paris
Dealing with Spectators
Spectators are often curious, and may want to chat or offer advice. If possible, position yourself where people can't come up behind you, such as against a wall or in a closed doorway; it will help minimize this problem. Simply ignoring a spectator's presence by not making eye contact usually will be enough, but you might also add "I'd love to give you some attention, but I can't be distracted right now".
If someone does start to chat, be polite but non-responsive, with a reply such as "I'm sorry but I can't talk right now since I have only a limited time to do this". Often, people just want to look, and you can help avoid talking by saying something like “feel free to have a look”, then continuing with your work. If someone offers advice, a response such as “Thank you, but I’m fine with what I’m doing” can politely deflect any well meant but undesired suggestions.

There are several special steps that need to be taken as your painting day draws to a close. Therefore, in Part V, we will complete the article by talking about ending the plein air painting day, and finishing the painting.

Julinya Vidigal de Vince offers a variety of art workshops in Westlake Village California.

Julinya's Art Classes - Westlake Village, CA

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