Summer Painting

I am happy to report that, even after my disappointing effort last week, I did paint this week. In fact, I painted twice. I stayed in my own back yard and I started with a tiny canvas, but I took my paints outside and I painted. Out there. En plein air. Eventually, I would like to try a sweeping landscape, with some real sky and all, but I am trying to proceed at the speed of me and this feels about right. I need to get used to painting outside. I need to figure out which colors are indispensable. I need to figure out how long they will stay wet. I need to figure out how much to include in the background and how to make it stay in the background.

Little Cabbage

Little Cabbage

I think I made some progress with this tiny painting. I wanted to paint the little purple cabbage in my husband’s garden, but I remembered last week’s problem with the background, so I started with that. What’s behind this small garden is my neighbor’s garage and a chain-link fence. I tried to put them in lightly, without too much detail. It’s still not perfect, but it’s certainly an improvement over the “background” I painted last week. I love the little cabbage and the friendly plants next to it.

I was encouraged by this tiny effort – it’s only 2 1/2” by 3 1/2” – so I tried something a bit bigger the next time I took my paints into the back yard. I obviously bit off more than I could chew, but there are a lot of things about my 8” x 10” painting that I like. I like all the pots. I like the eggplant blossoms and I like the strawberry and I like the limes. I hate the window and the shadow of its awning.



I just couldn’t figure out what colors I was seeing in those window frames. They were in shadow. I knew what color they really were, which was white. Of course they don’t look white when they’re in shadow, but my left brain just wouldn’t let it go. Sometimes I can’t believe how tenacious my left brain can be. It always wants me to paint what it knows is there, instead of what I see.

I will keep trying. Every attempt teaches me something. I put my chair down in a big shady spot when I started this painting. I looked up to see where the sun was and it was behind a huge tree. It looked as if it would stay behind that tree for hours. I guess it did, but not enough hours. Once that sun hit my Sta-Wet palette, my paint did not stay wet. There were other things I might have done to this painting, but I couldn’t keep going. My paints were drying up and there was nothing I could do, with the supplies I had brought outside, to stop it.

I guess that means the sun finished this painting. Next week, I hope to make better plans and finish my own painting.

2 thoughts on “Summer Painting

  1. sarahcotchaleovitch

    I’m proud of your paintings! I imagine it’s harder to paint a tiny one than it seems. And it truly is hard capturing the colors you see versus the actual color. I remember learning about shadows in my art class, and it was mind-boggling. Pick my mom’s brain sometime–it comes naturally to her (and she didn’t pass it on, obviously).

    1. releaf1954 Post author

      It is a bit mind-boggling. I saw a demo once with a black block and a white block. The artist pointed out that the part of the white block in shadow was darker than the part of the black block in light. Whaaat? The left brain just can’t assimilate such information.


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