Richard recently created a series of posts with very useful tips. These are especially helpful for pastel artists working plein air - but anybody working plein air will find value in a lot of what he has to say.
- Plein Air Tips, Part 1 in which he looks at options for creating a stable set up for your palette
Using pastel en plein air has its advantages. The instant gratification of choosing a pastel stick and applying it to a surface is unparalleled. We simply open the pastel palette, analyze the scene, and make a mark—no mixing, no solvents, and no bag full of wet rags to dispose. The disadvantage is that we need an assortment of pastel hues in a range of values to accomplish what the wet painter can do with four tubes of paint.
- Plein Air Tips, Part 2: Sun Vs. Shade which discusses the issues of working in full sunlight or shade and provides some valuable recommendations for kit which helps with dealing with the sun
The painting surface and pastel palette need to be in the same light. Otherwise, pastel choices from the palette will appear completely different on the painting surface, confusing the mind and eye collaboration.
- Plein Air Tips, Part 3 - which is about how make plein pastel painting more pleasurable
Remind yourself while you are painting that the photo can provide detail information later and your task is to represent what the camera cannot: the human perspective. Spend your time analyzing the value relationships and subtle color sensations.Here's a selection of a few more of his plein air related posts from his blog:
Places for plein air painters
- Places that Inspire: Cape Cod - and the opportunties it presents for plein air artists
- Beauty in the Mundane - about deciding what to paint in the landscape
- Painting in the Grand Canyon of Man - about how the choices made when painting urban landscapes are not that different from those made when painting rural areas
- The Perfect Pastel Plein Air Setup: The Search Continues in which he describes his newly downsized travel kit
- A Consistent Palette: The Plein Air Artist's Friend helps deal with the issues arising from the way colours change in bright light
- The Shutter Speed of Our Eyes - which reflects on how our eyes see things differently to cameras
- The Problem With Green, Part 1 which tackles the nitty gritty issues associated with the use of green
A few years ago while I was on a painting trip with legendary pastel plein air artist Glenna Hartmann, the question of how to handle green was posed. After a perfectly timed pause, she quietly responded, “I avoid it at all cost.” The ensuing discussion was very interesting. It seemed that every painter there had an issue with green.
- Pastel Dry Underpainting - about how to tackle an underpainting when working plein air and all you have to hand are your pastels
While subject matter may be important to the concept, the process of painting is really nothing more than shapes, edges, values and colors, arranged in a pleasing design.