JeffreySmithArt


Plein Air Plan | 5 tips for better outdoor painting
June 27, 2009, 7:47 pm
Filed under: Plein Air | Tags: , ,

I just finished a fantastic plein air painting workshop sponsored by The Atelierhere in Minneapolis. The workshop was taught by plein air artist, Brian Stewart. Go ahead. Click on over to his site and take a look at his work, I can wait. Welcome back.

I made a conscious effort that I was going to use this as an opportunity to learn as much as I could about  another painter’s process for plein air painting.

Here are my top 5 take-aways from Brian’s workshop

  1. Location, location, location. Choosing what to paint is just as, if not more important than how you paint it.
  2. Compose it well. How you place that well chosen subject on the canvas is critical to the emotion that a viewer feels or doesn’t feel when they look at your painting.
  3. Draw it out. Take the time to draw out you painting. This should be done simply, but as accurately as possible. Use a few lines, no more than 7 or 8 if possible. Starting with nothing or even worse, starting with something sloppy on the canvas just means that you will be spending your time later fixing what you just put down.
  4. Values rule. Once the drawing has been established, and you are starting out on a painting, there is nothing more important than getting your values right. “How light is the shadow side of this shape next to the light side of this other shape?” Move from shape to shape and ask yourself the question.
  5. Explain yourself. There reaches a point in a plein air painting where you need to stop simply putting down paint, and start describing the feeling of what you see in front of you. This is done through edges, brush strokes, color/temperature variations, and value shifts. “How can I manipulate the paint to give the view a better idea of what I experienced?”

What struck me as I was painting, is how these ideas could be applied to almost any representation painting done from life. There is nothing radical. No secret colors recipes for mixing up the prefect colors to use for painting the shadow side of oak trees. Just slow down, compare the parts to the whole, and paint what you see.

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Trail Under the Pine Trees | gouachhe painting
June 19, 2009, 9:35 pm
Filed under: gouache | Tags: , ,

Trail Under the Pine Trees, gouache on paper, by Jeffrey Smith

Trail Under the Pine Trees, gouache on paper, by Jeffrey Smith

Trail Under the Pine Trees
gouache on paper
$30.00

Click here to check out this painting and more from Jeffrey Smith Art on Etsy.

I got out the gouache paints the other day, and did a little demo for my mother.  She has a dream of learning to use her paints. 

She has worked with watercolors in the past, but has always found them difficult to use because you have to plan ahead, and use the white of the paper for the whites in the final painting…  That’s part of the beauty of using gouache as a medium.  Just like with oil paint, gouache is an additive process.  The whites or light colors that you see in a final painting can be added  on top of other colors or layers of paint.  This allows for more flexibility as the painting progresses.  I love using gouache when I’m sketching or trying to work out an idea, or plan a painting.



Dappled Sunlight | Sunday morning plein air painting
May 31, 2009, 5:02 pm
Filed under: landscape, Plein Air | Tags: ,
Dappled Sunlight, 6x8" oil on linen panel, by Jeffrey Smith

Dappled Sunlight, 6x8" oil on linen panel, by Jeffrey Smith

Please click here for purchase information for this painting.

Sunday is the best day of the week.  Things seem to move a bit slower… I spent my Sunday morning painting on the grounds of the St. Paul Seminary right along the Mississippi River. 

The weather has been perfect; not too warm,blue skies, and sunshine!  That sunlight and trees created an amazing dappled pattern across the grass..  I was fascinated by the number of different greens  I saw in the shadows as the lawn rolled down to the river.



Crabapple Tree Plein Air | Outdoor painting in the neighborhood
May 27, 2009, 8:14 pm
Filed under: landscape, Plein Air, tree | Tags: , ,
Crabapple Tree PLein Air, 6x8", oil on linen panel, by Jeffrey Smith

Crabapple Tree Plein Air, 6x8", oil on linen panel, by Jeffrey Smith

Please click here for purchase information for this painting

 I love staying close to home.  I think there is something fascinating that happens when you take the time to really observe the area around your home.  I painted this little plein air piece of a flowering tree I discovered in the neighbors yard.  With all of those small petals being hit by the later morning sun, there was asoftness to the pink tree that contrasted wonderfully against all of the other trees and plants around it.



Birch Clump | Backyard plein air painting of birch trees
May 23, 2009, 10:22 am
Filed under: landscape, Plein Air, tree | Tags: , ,
Birch Clump, 6x6, oil on panel by Jeffrey Smith

Birch Clump, 6x6, oil on panel by Jeffrey Smith

What a beautiful day for plein air painting in Minnesota!   At 74 degrees a nice gentle breeze I don’t think you could ask for anything more.  Armed with this sunny disposition, I grabbed my pochade box and headed out side to paint.  I got in about 6 hours of painting time, and walked away with 3 little paintings.

The image above the clump of birch trees from the neighbors front lawn.  I painting the same group of trees a few weeks ago.  What I love about revisiting a subject, especially at this time of year, is taking the time to see how things have changed.  In what seems like no time at all, a ring of hostas has circled the birch trees.  The leaves on the trees themselves have come out, adding a wonderfully intense green note against the blues of the spruce tree behind  them.



Fallen Tree and the Forest Floor|Plein Air Painting in the Park
May 8, 2009, 4:56 pm
Filed under: landscape, Plein Air | Tags: , , ,
Fallen Tree, 6x8", oil on linen panel, by Jeffrey Smith

Fallen Tree, 6x8", oil on linen panel, by Jeffrey Smith

The landscape painting above was painted in a park just over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.  One of the great things about the neighborhood that we live in now, is the closeness to the Mississippi River.  I thing there is something really great about being able to see a scene like this, and know that I’m about 2 miles away from a major downtown area.

We had some very unusual weather the morning that I created this little painting.  It started off raining, then the sun came out. Then rain and sun, both at the same time.  It finally looked like things were going to clear up, or at least stop raining.  I made my move.  With pochade box in hand, I made my way down to the  river.  I came across this spot, and set up my paints.   About an hour, I heard what I thought was a loud truck, or a train.  It turns out, it was thunder.  I didn’t realize that until I got smacked in the face with the first of many huge drops of rain.  I quickly tucked my painting into it’s carrier, and made my way for the car.

Looking back on it, I figure that getting rained on while painting just ups my credibility as a plein air painter.



Backyard Plein Air Painting: Birch Tree Landscape Painting
May 5, 2009, 8:21 pm
Filed under: landscape, Painting, Plein Air, tree | Tags: , , , ,
Birch Clump, 6x8", oil on linen panel, by Jeffrey Smith

Birch Clump, 6x8", oil on linen panel, by Jeffrey Smith

Birch Clump

8×6″ original oil on linen panel

$150.00

BUy This Painting!

I kept my landscape painting close to home tonight.  I took my pochade box out to the backyard.  The neighbors have a great clump of birch trees.  Perfect for one last plein air painting though I had to paint fast to capture the evening light before it changed as the sun went down.

After finishing up with the birch trees outside, I brought my painting in.  Walking through the living room, I couldn’t help but notice a similarity to a small watercolor painted by my grandmother.

Birch Clump, 5x7", watercolor on paper, by Vi Olson

Birch Clump, 5x7", watercolor on paper, by Vi Olson