Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Days of paint and roses

I had a day off from work yesterday, so was tempted to paint "en plein aire", but the weather was so nice I decided to paint outside instead.

There is a jetty at the end of the little peninsula I live on, about 1/2 mile from my studio. It's not very dramatic, a scruffy and littered patch of seagrass, a short breakwater and a pebbly beach, but I am very grateful to those who had the foresight to form a neighborhood association in order to stop a developer from somehow constructing 4 houses on the little spit of land. Now association members chip in to pay the taxes and we have access to the quiet beach with a view down to Conimicut light and the Newport bridge, and large patches of beach roses.

I spent a crazy amount of time organizing my painting gear. Thinking they were more practical working outside, I decided to bring Interactive acrylics, but I'm beginning to wonder if oils are more practical outside. The acrylics do have the advantage of drying quickly, which is useful at the start, but then I like to take my time in observation and mixing colors, and it is just too stressful to keep the acrylics workable, even with the Interactives ability to be "unlocked" back to a liquid state. I think the ideal would be to use both. I may try to make up a kit with just a few basic acrylics, and then my full palette of oils. It seems like I've been trying to come up with the perfect outdoor kit for years. I guess it's because I don't paint outside that much.

By the time I got down to the jetty the sun had come out. I set my easel up in the middle of a big patch of beach roses. I thought I was going to paint the roses, but the new-green of the leaves was so saturated, it managed to overpower the wild violet pink of the roses. After a few hours of mixing greens (not my best color!) the hot sun and hunger caused me to pack it up. I was a bit disappointed with the result, but I've brought it back to the studio and if I can pull anything out of it, I'll post a pic.


  1. I enjoy painting outside too, but agree that the set up and break down are a pretty big pain, esp. because I'm so used to working big and "downsizing" to a manageable easel feels wierd. Nice that you have access to the ocean.

  2. It is great to be near the ocean, I have access to a beach just 1 block away, but it's amazing that a week can go by when I don't even get down to the shore. Something is wrong with that!


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