How do you keep from being overwhelmed by nature when you're painting in the wild?
When I start a session, I usually make some decisions right away about how to simplify a subject. Even if my goal is to capture the perspective and the forms pretty much as I see them, I often make some decisions about interpreting value and color.
For example, here's the scene I'm looking at next to the gouache painting I do from observation:
I choose to flatten the tones of the far trees and translate the actual colors into more basic warm and cool colors, sacrificing a lot of blue and green.
I hoped that transposing the color scheme into this elemental range would capture my feeling about this farmyard surviving another winter, ready to awaken into spring.
I made another sacrifice as well. (Link to video) The only sketchbook I had with me was full, so I had to paint one sketch over another. Doing this requires "seeing through" the paper to the painting on the other side of it, and finding it all with the brush.
-----This video is a sample from "The Living Sketchbook, Vol. 2: Metro North," which releases one week from today. Check out the first volume, "Boyhood Home," available now at the App Store and Google Play.
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