Friday, September 14, 2012

Provence Trip and a few Plein Airs finished

                                                   Lourmarin Plein Air Study 5 X 7

                                                   Roussillon Plein Air Study 5 X 7

Well finally I've scanned two of the Plein Air pieces done almost completely on site.  Both are on
Ampersand Pastelboard this first one on white and the 2nd one on the green pastelboard.  I prefer the white as the green or colors make bright whites a chore.   The Lourmarin turret turned into a home was completed with a underpainting of Watercolor Colored Pencils (Caran D'Ache) with layered  Premier Prismacolors completed on top.  Before starting the piece I photographed the scene and did a quick graphite study for composition purposes in my sketch book.   (I tried to scan it but the sketch doesn't want to show up well, sorry.)  I used the wc cp's to quickly tone the background area leaving the sky untouched.  When the wc cp was dry which happened quickly on site because of the dry warm day in July.  I then worked the sky.  Wanting to capture the atmosphere from morning haze still in the Luberon mountains behind.  Working small in Plein Air cp has become a must for my getting near completion in one day, but the sanded surface helps work much more quickly.

The Roussillon piece was started on a very windy morning sitting in the parking lot across from this hillside town.  Roussillon is where natural sienna pigments are found in the ground and the hues are amazing.  I did not do a composition sketch before starting this, nor did I do a WC CP underpainting, just straight Prismas onto the board.  Because this board was green to start with I mapped out a sketch with white cp lightly to build the drawing.  The day was so windy I had to leave halfway done and finish back at the hotel.  Building the colors due to the green Ampersand base coat, first with white.  Final finishing came when I came back to the states, but mainly tweaks and small details.  There was so much to get into this small 5 X 7, but the feeling of the village and it's colorful earth pigments is there. 

So there you have it, a recap of 2 of the pieces I did while on my France Plein Air Trip.  Colored pencil really is better thought of as a sketchbook media when on site.  But when you use a sanded surface, work small and use an underpainting of WC pencils things can move faster.  Perhaps not as fast as other media, but getting a saturated look is possible.  When wanting to work bigger I still use pastels, but  I do not love the mess I create nor are my pastel skills highly evolved.   And taking pastels on this long France trip would have meant more weight for my luggage.

Soon to post my Central VA British Car Show piece, just have to get it photographed.   Have a colorful Day!

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