The consistency of time

I don't know if any of you read the comments on my thoughts about art and stuff, but there are some really good ones. My friend Lynn Whipple, one of the most talented artists I know , has taking up plein air painting in oil over the last two years and has just figured out so much on her own it's amazing, anyway, my point is she makes good comments and makes astute observations. She made a comment about getting the time of day right. Capturing the moment or capturing the light, some call it. I call it developing a consistent reality.

We paint outside, which takes time, the light changes over the span of time it takes to manufacture all of the little parts of the painting. Which means the temperature of color of the light changes. The rock in the foreground could be painted 2 hours or more after the rocks in the background.  If you are not paying attention it's easy to lose sight of the fact that the direction and nature of the light has changed which can show up in your painting. Mixed times.

One thing that helps is to create quick color note references in the painting once you get it generally sketched in. Notes for shadow and light throughout so that when you get to those zones in your painting and it's two hours later you can refer to the color notes you made and adjust accordingly. The other is to strive for color harmony in the piece. This painting by Jack Wilkinson Smith is a great example. I'm sure it's a studio painting but it has wonderful consistency of color and time. The warm light the illuminates this scene is reflected in every color. There are a couple of ways to do this; one is to really pay attention to the temperature or the relative warm and cool levels in every color you mix, another is to mix a little bit of a key color, say a warm yellow, into every color you mix and the other way is to put a tranparent glaze of one color over the entire painting once it's dry, wiping out where it needs it, letting that dry and reworking the painting based on the revised temperature of the piece. Oh and the last is to go back to the same location over and over painting only at the same time each day for about a half an hour or so. It worked for Monet.

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