Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Painting in Italy

So much to do, so much to prepare for, and lots on my mind as I prepare to head for Italy and teach a workshop to a group of really wonderful painters, who happen to be wonderful people, too.

I'll soon be teaching in Tuscany, Italy, and I'm currently researching some of the towns we might see and paint in.  It's great to have a variety of locations:  colorful markets, wineries, mountainous towns and little villages.  I'm coming to the end of my usually scheduled weekly classes, exhibits and plein aire competitions and publication contests, so that I can focus on this plein aire adventure.

I'll be participating in a plein aire competition just before I leave for Europe.  While it's extra pressure to compete just before leaving the country, it's also good practice and will hep me to keep my skills honed, fast and ready to go.

So, for you plein aire painters out there, I think practice is about the best way to prepare for painting outdoors.  Just like any other skill, the more you work, the better you become.  Learning to select a location that will translate into a beautiful painting is, of course, the first thing on the agenda when the artist is outdoors.  After that, drawing a nice thumbnail sketch is a must; why waste good paper?  By designing your thoughts carefully in a sketch pad, you can instantly discern whether the composition you have in mind will work.

So, happy painting.  A.lot of art and observation everything else...practice.

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