Thursday, 2 April 2015

First under the Tuscan sun.

The Tuscan weather has finally turned and allowed the gentle spring light so cherished by plein air painters to shine through. This is my first oil painting of the season. Painted in in the Pandolfini gardens.

Here, I'm giving a rough break down of the process.

 Initially you can search out the major shadow shapes. They are everywhere but if you squint your eyes you'll find them more easily.

Very quickly and roughly, draw in the major shapeswith your brush, being sure to get the general perspective correct.  Then around the main shapes paint in the large shadow shapes in one tonal value. You'll quickly realise that there isn't a need for a lot of detail in the main objects. In fact more details are an impediment to accuracy.
 Then you can start blocking in large colour areas. Any major colour
shapes should be put in without much detail. Try to work around
whatever is going to be the main eye catching element in the painting. Don't respect edges too much.
 The colours on your pallet should be more or less in the same light as the painting otherwise it makes it very difficult to judge the values. This alone makes an amazing difference to your ability to quickly judge colours and put things in context.
 The statues are going to get the most attention here but the other details are equally important. Do not put too much details into the statues. Try to not represent arms or heads or other things that you can name. Just capture the light around objects and respect the value and chroma of their colours. You'll find that the shapes automatically become as they should be when you take this approach.

The completed painting. Using this method of Plein Air painting, this took about 4 hours, in oils. I had to move around a lot because of the dappled light coming through the trees above but the final work is satisfying.

It feels like I've cast aside the winter and am stepping out to explore more of the painting possibilities which Florence offers. 

Best regards
Tom J. Byrne