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Outdoors Again…

January 20, 2012

It was a beautiful day yesterday, my 68th birthday.  While I’m not a dedicated plein air painter, I hope to become much more of a regular one as we begin our travels.  For now, I’m just taking advantage of good days to get more practice.  Painting outdoors has been a challenge for me, because the quality of the work isn’t what I have been used to in the studio.  Lately, even the studio work has been below my usual level, but I think that’s because of so many changes that have taken place in recent months and the challenges those changes present.

Tree, 8x10, Gouache

Because I’m not a bold, seasoned plein air painter, I’ve tended to stay close to the motorhome here in the RV Park.  This tree is near a fence line, not far from us, but stands next to an occupied mobile home.  I chose to paint it while standing in my own space.  I tend to work quickly when I’m painting in the studio or indoors, but not with any feeling of pressure.  I can slow down when I want to, and even stop and take a break.  For some reason, when I work for the same amount of time outdoors, I work with the same speed, but don’t get the same result.  I know that’s normal, but I find it a bit frustrating.  And, yes, I know that the more I do it, the better I’ll get at it.

Recent photos have shown me working on coated paper plates for mixing palettes.  There are a lot of palette styles out there, most of them pretty inexpensive.  I’d just been holding off buying one, intending to find one that fit comfortably inside my french easel.  William R. Moore couldn’t stand it any longer, and very kindly sent me one of two identical palettes he had recently bought.

The palette fits perfectly, and stores easily with other art supplies in an overhead compartment in the RV.  And, it will work well on the dinette table inside when the table is extended.  And I have to admit, there’s a greater comfort when mixing on this hard plastic palette that stays in place in the easel drawer.  Thanks, William!

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. January 20, 2012 9:47 am

    Hi Ralph.
    Lovely painting. For a none Plein air painter you have done well here. I will have a look to see if I can get one of them Palettes that you have. Do you know where your friend got it from? please let me know will you? All the best Ralph.
    Vic.

  2. William R Moore permalink
    January 20, 2012 11:35 am

    Ralph,
    I don’t recall where I purchase the palette close to ten years ago.The palette is a Jones Palette and if googled, you will find several sights at varying prices ( $13.00-$21.00) Shop for best price.

    Ralph,
    Check my recent email. May not apply?

  3. Margaret Quin permalink
    January 21, 2012 4:52 pm

    What a kind gesture from a friend to buy & send you a palette!
    Like your painting!

    • January 21, 2012 6:11 pm

      Thanks, Margaret. It certainly was a kind gesture. William has been watching my progress and encouraging me for quite a long time. Now I have to live up to his confidence in me!

  4. February 4, 2012 1:36 pm

    Ralph…happy belated birthday…looking good and very “arty”!!! I just came across this photo as I needed the link to your gouache site for a reader who posted a question in the comment section of my recent blog post….and I wanted to direct her to your world of gouache.
    Changes always effect our creativity…but I think a move to plein air is just what you need. You have a house on wheels, and need to document what’s around you from life. Moving out of our comfort zone is not easy….but we become better artists for it.

    • February 6, 2012 8:44 am

      Thanks a lot, Maggie. I’m definitely sensing that some change is ahead. The new lifestyle is going to call for a looser, more casual approach. I’m hoping to become a bit more relaxed and less fussy with my art. I see a bit more pencil and wqtercolor in my future.

  5. February 8, 2012 4:30 pm

    Ralph, I don’t hang out on FB very often, and only just saw your message. I would recommend a letter size hard back (black) spiral sketchbook…. like a Canson one, but with heavy duty smooth cartridge paper. Spiral bound is great for turning the cover on itself when you sketch or paint. If you slip a piece of mount board under the page you are using you should be able to use light water media with out making the other pages cockle and buckle. You can even use masking tape (low tack) on this or even masking fluid to create a border. Derwent water-soluble GRAPHITE pencils are the way to go for loose quick sketching…you can’t get too fussy with them. I actually dip the tips straight into water and use them that way to great fat lines for tree trunks etc. Once dry you can lay in light washes if you want of watercolour. The other thing that would suite might be some pen and ink with wash. I can just see you sitting in a folding camping chair outside your home with a pad like this sketching away! You could use watercolour paper…. but it’s more expensive and I think you will like smooth thick cartridge paper if you are used to illustration board or gessoed panels. Let me know how you get on. Happy painting…..Maggie

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