"Hint of Spring" 16 x 20
We're having a wonderful respite in the winter. ( I'm no dummy and I know it's not done. This is Calgary, after all.) So this week I went out plein air painting near the river.
Painters always tell you that photos don't capture the true colours of a scene; that they flatten and kill the shadows and distort values. Well... they're right.
Much as I hate to leave the warmth of the house and shlep all of my gear to a site which doesn't have so much as an outhouse nearby, I have to admit that it does make for a better, more sensitive interpretation of the landscape than a photo does.
The other advantage to painting outside is, surprisingly, the cold and discomfort. It forces you to strip down the scene to its essentials and paint efficiently. I studied the scene for a long time, figuring out what it was that I liked about it. I decided it was the reflective ribbon of the creek winding its way into the river. I also loved the sheets of ice on the water and the bright patches of lingering snow on the shady side of the bank. So although there were some wonderfully twisty and unique trees and picturesque ducks in my line of site, I ignored them and much more to focus on the two elements that appealed to me the most.
Maybe I'll go back sometime for the ducks.