Backyard Plein Air

Today I was looking at this scene in our backyard and was quite captivated by the bright green leaves agains the dark back ground and felt it was worth a painting.  I’m also anxious to work on the skills of plein air painting.  I watched a presentation on plein air painting that stressed a clear process for doing it.  Basically, identify 5 to 7 major shapes in the scene and then put them together like a jig saw puzzle to get a simplified composition.  Then get a value pattern with lights, mids and darks and then paint it.  I was aware of this as I worked on this image.  I like the fact that it is fairly accurate to my value study.  It’s all about the contrast of the dark and muted colours with the bright leaves.  The one aspect that I missed in the painting is that I made the tree smaller than it was in the sketch.  That reminds me of some sage advice I’ve heard quite a few times.  Make the painting about what it’s about.  In this case it’s about the tree and the bright leaves.  So a larger tree and less background would have been a stronger statement.

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