#pleinairpril and some painting experiments

There’s a painting challenge called #pleinairpril, organized by the Warrior Painters, and it inspired me to try two new painting experiments:

  1. try plein air painting in opaque media: oil and gouache (I almost always use watercolor, which is a transparent medium)
  2. try leaving early for a meeting so I could stop and paint outside for 30 minutes in a new place on the way

Experiment #1: Success – I started with two watercolor paintings (bottom two in the collage above), then switched over to gouache (top left) and oils (top right). If you’re not familiar, gouache is water soluble, but feels a bit thicker and chalkier than watercolor. I love it, but it’s a bit out of my comfort zone. Oils are not water soluble (is that obvious?); you thin them out with oil or solvent (I use linseed oil). It was really challenging and exciting to paint with a different medium. It’s a different logic than watercolor– almost the same part of my brain as trying to say something in a new language! I’m excited to keep exploring these different media.

Experiment #2: This was great! It was fun to explore a new place, and a good challenge to find a place to sit, decide what to paint, and get a painting done, all in 30 minutes.

Looking forward to continuing to experiment and learn! Here’s a roundup of the paintings above…

#1: Bayshore Boulevard and “The Wave”

I painted in a park across from Bayshore Boulevard, which runs along Tampa Bay (fun fact: it has the longest sidewalk in the world!), near The Wave sculpture (by Mary Ann Unger, 1989). I don’t feel super confident about mixing colors yet in gouache; these colors feel SO bright! But the color palette here in April is pretty bright naturally anyway… (gouache, 5×8″)

#2: Live oaks

This is a painting I completed during my oil painting class. It’s been so fun to get started painting with oils– it is a beautiful medium! (oil on canvas, 9×12″)

#3: Midmorning at the Lake

Tried out my new plein air easel at the lake while the boys were paddleboarding. Five stars for the easel! (watercolor, 5×8″)

#4: Late afternoon in the back yard

I’ve never tried painting a screen enclosure before, but I like it. Love the dappled light in the late afternoon. (watercolor, 5×8″)