Plein Air May 2022 - Week 2
Plein Air May 2022 - Week 2

Plein Air May 2022 - Week 2

Week 2 of my goal to paint outdoors every day in May is complete. It was another week of dodging rainstorms and finding shelter from the wind, but I’m not complaining. (Not true, I’ve caught myself whining to anyone who will listen.)

I’ve decided that week 2 of a month-long challenge is like the second week of a new fitness habit. The enthusiasm has worn off, you’re sore, and you want to sleep in and have someone bring you coffee and a cinnamon twist donut.

But aside from the occasional whining (and donut craving) I enjoyed painting on location this week. I take in all the sounds and colors, noticing things that I wouldn’t otherwise see.

For instance, on Friday, while it was pouring down rain, a little bird brought some bugs to a nest tucked in the salal bushes. So sweet!

Week 2 Takeaways

⭐️ Use a Pass/Fail grading system. If you paint today, you get a Pass today, and that’s good for a gold star on your chart. (Get enough gold stars and you earn a cinnamon twist donut.)

💦 If you think it’s going to rain, take watercolor paper that has been stretched. As an alternative, use clips and then readjust the clips as needed to prevent buckles. In other words, don’t tape your paper down unless you really enjoy working on buckled paper.

⬜️ ⬛️ Think of values first and foremost. Don’t get swept away by the details. Why oh why is this so difficult to remember?

Sunday, May 8, 2022

I started this on location, thinking I had about an hour of dry weather, but the rain clouds were on a different schedule. I was able to paint for about 30 minutes before the rain started. You can see the texture that the raindrops made in the tree area on the left. I packed up and finished this at home.

Charleston Boatyard, Watercolor, 10”x14”
Charleston Boatyard, Watercolor, 10”x14”

Monday, May 9, 2022

I painted at the boatyard again on Monday evening.

‘Rainbow’ is an old wooden troller ready to pass under the rainbow bridge into boat heaven. The somber spray-painted X has been there for years, but the number 2 has been added. 2nd in line for the demo team?

I painted her with a little more cheer than her current state and tried to use enough colors to live up to her name.

Sidenote: a little bird family has a nest in the exhaust pipe.

Rainbow, Watercolor, 10”x13”
Rainbow, Watercolor, 10”x13”

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

This was a nice day for painting. I went down to the south cove at Cape Arago State Park. This area is known for its tide pools at low tide, and it’s a great place to be sheltered from a north wind.

This scene is a complex painting subject because of the bedrock, boulders, tide pools, cliffs, and the distant land. I didn’t plan the middle section very well, and it shows. How do you say ‘lots of big rocks’ without painting each shape?

South Cove View, Watercolor 10”x14”
South Cove View, Watercolor 10”x14”

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Since it was another nice, but windy day, I decided to make the trek down to south cove again.

The problem with hiking down is that you have to hike back up! I always have to stop a few times on the way up to “admire the view”.

I wanted to keep this simple. I painted the darker values in the rock area first using loose brushstrokes. I explored the tide pools while the paint was drying. Then I lightly glazed over this area with a very pale wash.

South Cove Rocks, Watercolor 6.5”x9.5”
South Cove Rocks, Watercolor 6.5”x9.5”

Thursday, May 12, 2022

I was happy to be warm and dry in the van on this rainy day.

I parked where I had a pretty good view of the Charleston Marine Life Center building and did this little painting.

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Rainy Day at the Marine Life Center, Watercolor, 6.5”x9.5”
Rainy Day at the Marine Life Center, Watercolor, 6.5”x9.5”

Friday, May 13, 2022

I tried painting in the rain under my Shade Buddy umbrella. I stayed dry thanks to rain gear, but my painting did not.

Once I felt like I had earned my gold star for the day, I went inside and built a fire in the woodstove so I could dry out my gear and the painting.

This is my front yard, so I’ll try again when it’s warm and sunny!

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Work in progress of South Slough view.
Work in progress of South Slough view.

Saturday, May 13, 2022

Saturday afternoon, I headed to Sunset Bay. It was overcast with no interesting light and I didn’t feel like committing to a full painting, so I did a quick and messy color study.

Back at home, I did another version of the scene.

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Color study on location
Color study on location
Sunset Bay, Watercolor, 6”x9”
Sunset Bay, Watercolor, 6”x9”

I’m looking forward to Week 3 — less rain and more sun!

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Plein Air May 2022 - Week 2
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Tips for Painting on a Windy Day
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How to Keep Your Plein Air Palette Flat When Transporting
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