I’ve often looked through the mag and thought this painting or that painting was done from a photo. Now that I’ve been drawing and painting from life for a lot of years I’m like my old teachers at the academy. I can tell the difference between a plein air landscape and a landscape from a photo. The ones painted from a photo are flat. They don’t have the illusion of depth because a photo flattens perspective and color. Like the painting above which won $15,000.
This is what the article about this painting says.
“There are 18 categories to enter, and eligible paintings do not need to have been completed in plein air but should be drawn on inspiration from a plein air study or plein air experience.”
Ironic that they used the word “experience”. Makes me wonder if someone there reads my blog. nah
So there. You can enter the contest and say you did a study in plein air or had an experience in plein air and you qualify for the $15,000.
I paint at home when it’s too hot and humid to enjoy being outside. I’ll be the first to tell you art isn’t worth suffering for. But when I paint at home I don’t call it a plein air painting. Plein air really means the artist and subject are outside in natural light.
Maybe the mag doesn’t have enough entries actually painted in plein air so they had to expand the meaning of plein air to include studio artists. I can only guess.
It makes no sense to me so I did a Dada poem for it. If you want to do a Dada poem you don’t have to be a real author, all you have to do is cut out words, mess up the pile of words and then pick them up at random and write them down. Dada makes no sense. Here’s mine.
Inspiration eligible 18
plein been experience
completed categories air,
enter study paintings
these should air need,
but and draw
or plein not to
have are from.
ok, let me add a post script. I think a lot of those artists I saw painting in plein air with the beauty of nature life sized in front of them were actually copying the little photos on their phones. hahahahah No wonder they can’t see the difference.
ok, I'll try to use it.
Twice I was heading over to Fort Monroe to work on a drawing that I started a couple years ago when the strange atmosphere of the place freaked me out and I gave up on the drawing. It's an old fort and was under Union control in the Civil War. The battery I was drawing is freakin spooky. Yesterday and today I wanted to go there but it's on the north side of the Hampton Roads Tunnel and there was a big traffic jam both times. It wasn't rush hour. I didn't want to sit in the jam so I went to Norfolk Botanical Garden and walked a little since it's close to where I abandoned the highway traffic mess. I'll try for Fort Monroe after Labor Day some time in Sept. Hopefully the traffic jam will be gone by then. I don't know why there's so often a jam up there on 64W but it's enough to keep me on Southside.
I remembered Norfolk Botanical has a great sculpture of these two beautiful girls dancing so I started a sketch. My luck in the garden wasn't much better than the highway. As you can see, I didn't get very far with the sketch. I saw a mosquito on my arm. At first I was in the shade then 10 minutes later the sun was beating down on me. I almost went back to the car for my bug spray then I thought, oh well, I'll try to get over there earlier tomorrow and remember to use the bug spray. These are the problems of your plein air artist. It doesn't always go as you hoped with the weather and the bugs.
Well, if you're interested in this drawing technique here's the start. First I decided to draw the head 1.5" because that's about the smallest I can draw it, so I marked 1.5" sections down the paper. This way of measuring the figure using the head as a unit of measure keeps the figure in proportion as you're working on it. The ideal figure has 7 heads. The foot holding the weight is below the chin. The nipples are at the second head, except not this figure because I'm looking up at her so they're above the second head. The pubic mound is at the 3.5 mark on the figure as indicated on my sketch by the v. I put it approximately where it needs to be in line at the back of the head. To get that placing I held my pencil straight up and down and lined it up with the head. I hope you can visualize what I'm saying. To measure the proportions of the figure you have to hold your pencil out at an arms length. Rest your arm on the sketchbook. Rest the sketchbook against your body. If you take an easel out to draw, rest your arm on the easel. Close one eye and put your thumb on the pencil at the bottom of the chin. Then lower the pencil and check the proportions. Live models vary from the ideal. Don't feel self conscious about standing there holding a pencil out at arms length and closing one eye. It's the best way to start a figure drawing. I often was in open studio figure drawing groups and most artists don't use this technique to draw the figure. But if you want to be accurate it helps. Then start blobbing in the general shape with charcoal. Get all the figure roughed in before starting to refine it with line work.
I didn't get the first steps finished today because of the mosquitoes. So far I'm not itchy.
Baby, these are some beautiful girls dancing. And the poetry on the base is uplifting. This is what it says.
so many gods
so many creeds
so many paths
that wind and wind
just the act of being kind
is all this sad world needs.
Arther Morris 1862 - 1920