Going out to paint yesterday, I had two objectives. I wanted to demonstrate a "disciplined palette," where I keep my mixtures organized by light and cool, and also dark and warm. Second, I wanted to show how one could do several quick sketches from a single spot if it is rich in material. I picked a comfortable location by my father-in-law's vegetable garden, which overlooks a forsythia hedge to Friar's Bay.
I took an 8x10 panel and divided it in half with a 1/2"-wide strip of artist's tape, which gave me two 4.75"x8" rectangles. I limited myself to 30 minutes for each sketch. In the first one, the sun shone in all its glory. But 30 minutes later, when I started the second, clouds swept in and it began to sprinkle. You can really see the difference in the quality of light in these two pieces.
8x10 diptych, oil, en plein air
by Michael Chesley Johnson
Here's the actual setup:
Guerrilla Painter 9x12 Pochade Box
I took a shot of my palette after I finished the first one. It shows how I managed to keep my mixtures organized. In the heat of the moment, it's easy to forget that staying organized will give you cleaner mixtures and make it possible to compare one with the next.
(First posted May 25, 2008)