Monday, April 5, 2010

"House in Austin 1" --- Sold

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It was cloudy Sunday afternoon. I did this plein air near the Lake Travis, close to a very affluent neighborhood. After painting several plein air paintings, I realize that my plein air is completely the opposite my still life. My still lifes are low-key, with very wide value range, with high chroma colors, and very bright light in the focal point. Well, my plein airs are high key, narrow value range, with subtle grays, and dark accent at the center of focus. I have tried using my still life approaches to do plein air, but they did not work well. I don’t understand why. It does not make sense.

10 comments:

Karen said...

It does make sense. The key is dictated by the lightness of the sky. It is bright in a way that lamps cannot match. That lightness 'washes out' both color (chroma) and value because it bounces around and off of everything. The natural way then to accent the focal point is to use a dark. Take a still life outside and you'll have the same 'problem.' Most landscape painters fake the values and chroma by arbitrarily increasing them. I'll be seeing you in Las Cruces.

SarahBowie said...

Despite your confusion you did a wonderful job with the painting. I also like your April 1 neighborhood. Further to Karen's comment, with plein air the distance from subjects are different, correct? That complicates the situation of natural light, sun brightness. I have the feeling that with your engineering mindset and training you will find your own way to master the outdoors. (smile)

Bird said...

I think the difference is that you paint your still lifes at night and the plein air in the day.

silentwitness said...

Very nice painting,and the grays are very peaceful. Wanted to agree with what another commenter stated and that is about the distance. Outdoors you are dealing with the distance and many atmospheric "planes" between you and the midground and background. In your still life you are very close, with less atmospheric distance imposing on your values and colors.

Ed Cooper said...

Great painting,

Dare i say a bit Van Gogh!

I love your still life's qiang.

The reason I think you are getting such a different effect is time of day. I guess in the middle of the day the usual tonal arrangement would dark objects on a light sky.

However if you painted early in the morning, or as the sun comes down, you would probably get stonger light on dark tonal effects to match your still life paintings. Imagine this building just catching the last of the setting sun, against a blue or purple sky of dusk for example!

anyway food for thought!

I love the high key stuff myself!

candied said...

I too, like this little painting. You have such a great group of blog fans with such astute comments.
I wanted to compliment your internal conversation. All those questions are so important to moving your work from one place to another. (I do the same thing and hope I'm improving too.)

Dusty Pines said...

this is a lovely, subdued painting - very restful & serene . . .

i think another diff between still life & plein air, in addition to all the really good comments above, may be one of setting; that is, there can be outdoor pics in which the focus of the painting is [in] the light - i'm particularly thinking of the many places here on the northcoast where one is in dark woods, but can see the brightly-lit ocean or a sunny patch of trail or woods thru the trees . . . that area of brightness becomes the focal point, and there are strong value contrasts. don't know what texas is like (i picture very flat with the occasional city, house, or cactus sticking up!!), but if you could find a naturally high-contrast setting, you could experiment with that & compare it to your still lifes.

and thank you for asking yourself these questions out loud so we can all think about it!

Jonathan said...

I like these plein air paintings, it is rather difficult to switch modes of painting when you paint at night most of the time. You have done a wonderful job though your brush strokes translate just as well with your plein air paintings! Keep up the great job!

A.j. Trahan said...

i know what you mean

Hope Cunningham Daily Paintings said...

Beautiful, I thought it was Europe!