Monday, February 25, 2013

Plein Air at Joe Ford Nature Center

So, what do you do when you don't have Yellowstone or Yosemite down the road? I headed out today and did a couple of plein air sketches at Joe Ford Nature Center here in Owensboro. It's not too for from my house, so it makes a good place to go real quick.

Today was decent weather, but very windy. I wasn't prepared for that. Made the pages of my sketchbook keep flappin' around or closing up as I was painting...frustrating, but I dealt with it. It also provided a texture to the painting by blowing dirt and leaf particles into the wet areas. Which take longer to dry in this cool air, even with the wind.

I hiked a trail that circles the park and came to this little pond, called Willow Pond. Decided to try and find a composition here. Turns out to be a more complicated subject that I thought, once I started painting. I struggle at trying to find what I want to describe in the painting, especially a quick sketch. I kind of got lost in the reflections. It was protected from the wind, so the water was nearly flat and had perfect reflections, but it was also shallow and I could make out the stuff under the water too. My eyes were constantly focusing back and forth...was I seeing the sky and tree reflections...or the darks underwater.? So, I stopped on it and moved on.

Here is the effort in my sketchbook and the point of view of the painting.

After I packed up and moved on I hiked around a bit more and found this big white ash tree, with the sun giving it a nice shadow. So I set up real quick and got to work. Decided to do the vertical panorama to try and get as much of the tree in as possible. I was sitting on the edge of the walking trail and it must have been lunchtime, as there were several people walk by. Nobody bothered me. Odd, I usually get a curiosity seeker. :)

Here is the sketch and a shot of it at the scene. I couldn't get everything into that shot, unfortunately, with my phone camera.

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