Tag Archives: plein air class

Idyllic. Almost.

painting of red hammock

“Red Hammock”, mixed media by Kerry McFall

My Plein Air class set up in Tangent, Oregon at a lovely old farmstead, where our hostess had made big jars of iced tea for us.  Christine (another student) and I claimed the shade in the orchard, where she painted a gorgeous portrayal of a duet of pears (if you look closely above the hammock you can see a few), and I chose the bright red hammock for my subject.  I had a new toy to try, a Sharpie white water-based paint marker.  It worked like a charm for drawing the white ropes, and for toning down the “nouveau style” heavy lines after I got carried away.  The center of interest is perhaps a bit too close to “front and center”, but I was pleased with the bright colors of the hammock.  I never did reach the relaxation level implied in the painting… nothing like the constant roar of traffic on the highway to drown out birdsong on the summer breeze.  But I’m not complaining – it was such a treat to be able to paint outdoors for three hours, and then enjoy the resulting art show as the class displayed their work for critique.

One other sketch accomplished this week, this one during a business meeting held at the Oregon Aquarium.  The meeting room is about the best I’ve ever been in, with a view of the marsh surrounding the bay in Newport on one side, and a floor to ceiling window into the shark tank on the other end – AND coffee and delicious maple bars!  Clearly I need to put the Aquarium on my sketch destination list.

“Conference Concentration”, mixed media by Kerry McFall


Thursday’s plein air painting was at Donna Beverly’s  home.  Donna’s home is as colorful as her acrylic paintings, perched on a hilltop surrounded by firs, with a high-fenced garden.

Mark’s critique pointed out that once again, I have managed to cram two paintings into one: the top could be about the firs, the bottom could be about the bachelor buttons.  But both parts are about edges – the edge of the field was luminous gold, the edges of the trees were sharply defined, the edges of the flowers were translucent and difficult to capture.  I used my Pitt brush ben to pick out my favorite edges, and a bit of colored pencil to texture the watercolor washes.  Back at home, using a bit of Photoshop magic, I tried his suggestion and split out the flowers, then added the “poster edges” effect.  Better composition, that’s for sure.

As one participant put it, “It’s summer now.  You can smell the dry earth.  The damp is gone.”  Shortly after we arrived, a doe and her two spotted fawns raced across the field and into the welcoming darkness under the firs.  At that point it was too hot to sit in the sun to paint.  Within an hour, we needed a sweatshirt to be comfortable in the shade.  But even after dark, no bugs – no mosquitoes, no gnats, no ants.  Ah, Oregon… golden summer days, cool nights.