Monday, May 4, 2015

En Plein Air - Day 1

Today was the first day of painting outdoors (or in the open air)! Students grappled with atmospheric perspective today. They also battled with watercolors, which has been a pretty difficult transition coming from tempera, and acrylic works.

Some students had a difficult time negotiating the idea that they needed to establish the background and the work in transparent layers to build up to the foreground.

In this lesson students need to demonstrate six different watercolor techniques:

  1. Wash - wetting the paper with clear water and then apply even and very light applications of pigment onto the paper.
  2. Glaze - this is the process where you paint with transparent pigment onto a dry wash or other dry paint
  3. Dry Brush - this is where you paint onto dry paper with a relatively dry brush. This technique will give the artist crisp lines, or sharp edges. 
  4. Wet in Wet - with wet paper and a relatively dry brush the pigment blooms and creates feathery soft edges. This technique is the opposite of dry brush. 
  5. Lifting - This is how you can remove watercolor pigment from your painting. If the paper is wet simply take a dry brush and lift the color off the paper. If the pigment is dry then you can take clean water and a clean brush and lightly scrub the paper with the brush. Next clean the brush and squeeze the water out. Now use the dry brush to lift the pigment off the paper. 
  6. Drop in Color - This technique is just simply dropping various colors into a wet area and letting them to feather, bloom, and mix with the other colors on the paper. 
If you missed today we used the mountains near us to create the phenomenon of atmospheric perspective, which is simply that the objects in the background are lighter than the objects in the foreground. 

With our established value system that we have been using we discussed that the background was loosely related to the highlight, and then we progressed to the middle ground with we tied to mid-tones. Near the horizon we correlated transitional light and core shadow.  

After a brief demo of the watercolor techniques we gathered up our gear and headed outside to paint the view into the canyon!