|Mt Hood from a Pear Orchard, oil, 8x10, original painting by Tatjana Mirkov-Popovicki|
This summer we had to fight the desert heat, forest fires, smoke-haze, but nothing can stop a resolute plein air painter! Perseverance has paid off. I have many new paintings and my web site has been updated with new pieces. I've also learned a few tricks of the trade along the way, which I want to share with you.
Tip 1 - Decide on your painting location before you set off for a day of painting outside. One can waste hours of wandering around, searching for the most inspiring spot, while the time is passing buy and frustration builds up. If you know where you are going it's much easier to get there, as some wise person said.
Tip 2 - To stay cool even in the worst heat, tie a wet bandana around your neck. When it warms up from your body heat, untie it and swing it a few times in the air, and it will become cool again. Keep it wet - any kind of moisture will do. I learned this from a charming plein air painter from Oregon.
Tip 3 - If the weather is hazy don't despair but go with it, make it work. Distant mountain-peaks seen through a haze have lovely pastel tones, not to mention striking sunsets. A sketch of a red setting sun over a river, disappearing in a haze, has won the first place in the Pacific North West Plein Air event this year.
Here is a selection of my artistic output from recent plein air adventures. I hope you'll enjoy seeing them and, if you need encouragement, feel inspired to head out to paint and share your sketches with the art community.
|Little Zig Zag Falls, 14x11, acrylic|
|Mt Hood from Dalles Ranch Road, 11x14, acrylic|
|Blue Sky of Kilby, 10x8,oil|
|Big Beauty, 10x8, oil|
Painting outside is an important practise because it teaches us to make quick decisions, paint faster, be more accurate, understand colors and values, and master our tools and materials.
Painting outside with a group has a whole other set of benefits. When I watch other artists paint, I feel my artistic horizons expanding, and, of course, making new friends and meeting old ones is always a joyful experience.
But the most valuable outcome of this summer's plein air adventures was a birth of (for me) brand new concepts and ideas. Something very special happened while I was working on my oil and acrylic sketches. There was something novel and exhilarating in the way those little paintings came together and I am now excited about creating a new series of larger studio paintings.
As I mentioned before, all points on our artistic journey are connected. What we do today affects what we will do tomorrow, and so on. I can't wait to start working on my new paintings!
I hope that you feel excited about you own art adventures, whatever they may be!