Choosing a Subject by shape and value:
I enjoy joining the NJSPAP (New Jersey Society of Plein Air Painters) on their weekly outings. Though I have my oil paints in the car, I often leave them there, opting for my sketchbook, pen, waterbrush and pocket palette of watercolors. This is my year to create stronger design, composition and focal points in my plein air oil paintings. To achieve that goal, I am working on value studies and playing with various design options from one single vantage point.
We met at Bamboo Brook in Far Hills this week. I wandered down to the lily pond, sat down on a step and gazed out at the hundreds of possible choices of scenes that could be reconstructed in a painting.
I chose two. The first was straight ahead at a house half-hidden by trees and bushes. The second was slightly to my right, another flight of steps leading to a path toward a terrace. All those lines to create different value-shapes gets pretty tedious. At the end of the day, I enjoyed doing a quick, playful ink and watercolor sketch of a single Foxglove beside the steps leading down to the lily pond.