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Painting and Sketching Outdoors:
Preparation For The Big Day Out.

The primary advantage of painting or sketching outdoors is that nature is constantly supplying fresh ideas, color schemes, hitherto unseen details, and the passing effect of many moods.

The painter's imagination is constantly stimulated. Select a time of day when the light is interesting and fairly steady.

Whether you complete your painting in one sitting or return to the spot on successive days depends upon both your technical ability and what you are attempting to do.

A fleeting effect has to be captured at one time, but an exhaustive study, or series of studies, can be made for several days.

Of course, the weather and the season of the year are vital factors.

Always carry a small pad with you on which to make preliminary pencil or pen compositions.

Make several sketches - they can be rough and do not have to be large - 2 x 3 inches will suffice.

This is time well spent, for a pleasing composition will excite and sustain interest in the subject until it is completed on the canvas.

Painting or sketching outdoors can be a lot of fun... but if you're not prepared, it is likely that your efforts will be wasted.

Therefore, it is important that you plan your day out carefully for you to have a productive and satisfying artistic experience.

What sort of things should you prepare for painting or sketching outdoors?

Read on....


Check Your Equipment

For starters, you should make sure that all the colors you will need are in your paint box.

There is nothing worse than finally finding an ideal subject after a long trip and discovering that the white paint is missing!

Check your brushes, too, and make sure you have enough paint rags.


Always Carry a Reserve Panel

When painting or sketching outdoors, you should always carry a reserve panel.

Paint boxes are designed to carry two to three panels.

Carry at least one extra panel even though you intend to limit yourself to a single painting.

If you get off to a poor start it is better to discard the canvas for the moment, since reworking into a wet canvas generally produces muddy color.

And a fresh panel with its inviting white surface will be more of an inspiration to start fresh. The light may change drastically when you are halfway through a painting.

Rather than attempt to adjust the painting to a cloudy sky or some other change, start a new canvas.

Travel As Lightly As Possible

If you have a considerable amount of walking to do to reach your outdoor sketching spot, travel as lightly as possible.

To be exhausted by the time you are ready to paint certainly will not help you to produce your best work.

The easel can often be temporarily dispensed with if you are working on a panel size that will fit your paint box.

If the weather permits, a newspaper can be substituted for a sketching stool, or you might even find a convenient rock to sit on.

Dress Appropriately for Sketching Outdoors

It is not at all necessary to go to extremes avoiding white clothes, for instance, because light cloth can reflect into a painting and affect the color, but you should dress sensibly lor the season of the year.

It does not take long to lose enthusiasm when you are shivering while painting a winter subject on a cold day!

And you will be less subject to eyestrain as well as heat if you wear a hat with a brim or a peak during the summer.


More Articles on Painting and Sketching Outdoors:






Rokeby Venus, by Velazquez

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