Monday, June 11, 2012

How To Paint The Landscape...

Feels so good to get out of the studio and paint the landscape. It has been a while as I have been so busy doing faces, faces, and more faces, not to mention a few figures and still life.
This is a quick sketch of the Malibu Wine Country, a view from my home. And another I did today with Jeremy Lipking and friends. What a joy to watch him paint.

Landscape painting teaches one so much. My mentor Mr. Everett Raymond Kinstler, N.A., says the portrait artist must get out and paint the landscape and the landscape artist must get inside and paint the portrait. Painting the figure outside is fantastic too. Think of Swedish master Anders Zorn. I am lucky enough to be visiting his home and studio this July assisting Lipking and his painting group.   I will also be visiting the east coast of America on the way back from Sweden to landscape paint there around a wonderful reservoir that is always a real challenge for me.

Painting  the landscape teaches you how to paint air and atmosphere, how things recede,  all of which you can then put in the backgrounds of your figurative work. I know this to be true. I was resistant at first to the delights of bugs, gnats, crummy weather, unwanted audience and upturned paint boxes,  but thanks to dear Mr. Kinstler's prodding, encouragement and critque, I now love painting the great outdoors. Look also to the wonderful landscape work of Dawn Whitelaw,, a longtime protegee of Mr. K's,  and master in her own right, to see how it should be done. I own a Whitelaw sketch and I often look at it to remind myself of  'the way'. 

Most of all landscape sketches on site teach you about mixing soft greyed neutral color. Some say, Ovanes Beverian and Hongnian Zhang, that you have to learn how to paint grey well first before you can understand painting. I think this applies to the landscape especially.

Not so easy matching all those greyed greens, blues and browns of different color temperatures.  I find a pre-mix of purple-violet on my palette sure helps me.  Kinstler advised me to do this as has Lipking.

I try to keep the shapes simple, edit what I see, so to speak. The masters do this so well.

Jeremy Lipking,, is a great inspiration to look at too. I love seeing his landscape sketches, mostly 6"x8", in his studio that are the prep. for his finished studio pieces or sometimes just for study purposes. I would buy both the sketch and finish if I could. But the point being that his sketches are just as good as his finish and he keeps the shapes really clean and strong. His greyed color is magnificent and masterful.

 I also try to think warm AND cool for each passage I am painting, alternating both. A limited palette helps me too. Hate to say, I like black on my palette too. Ssshhh...Sargent did too. He is famous for saying he couldn't paint without it.

So how to paint the landscape?  Most of all, just get out there and do it. You will be glad you did. 

Pack sunscreen, bug spray, water and a sandwich plus a bag for trash. Plus supplies. Derrr....

Visit Guerilla Pochade for some of the coolest SWAG around. I have spent a fortune there.

The rest is obvious.


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