Painting in plein air is a great time to challenge yourself with a limited time to complete a work. Usually you’re painting quickly anyway due to the changing light and conditions. In this piece, I decided to limit myself to one hour. I even set a timer.
Orange daylilies grow wild here in southern Indiana and can be found along nearly any country road in June. They’re so beautiful and hardy. This patch of flowers I actually dug up along the road since, surprisingly, our farm had zero of these elegant and lively flowers.
One morning I noticed the light pouring through the trees which seemed to spotlight this flowerbed. I also loved the dark background of the bushes behind the flowers which seemed to make them stand out even more.
I decided to work in acrylic which is not my strongest medium to work with. The pochade box is a Sienna which is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship in itself. As an aside, I will say that I was not prepared for this painting venture; I had to keep returning to my studio for supplies that I had forgotten. (Note to self: make a list of supplies for each medium and keep everything together.) I also limited my palette to four colors plus white. I could have eliminated the green and just stuck with the primary colors. I would also have used an acrylic paint retarder medium as the paint kept drying too quickly.
When I set the timer, I dove into the work by doing a quick sketch and using larger brushes. I tend to cover large amounts of canvas for the initial lay in, going back to add details and tweak things. That’s my method but you may work differently. The whole point of the timer and this exercise was to force me to make decisions more quickly and not get overly fussy. Having too much time is not always beneficial.
Shooting for bright colors and the contrajour light, I think I accomplished my task. What are your thoughts?