Friday, January 8, 2010

Reflections

Its not that I've been completely put off plein air painting after the last icky trip, but the weather has been a bit wet and wild, and I had taken some photos of reflections in the small dam I was sitting next to - so I painted from them, trying to keep a similiar sort of looseness as when sitting out there. But it is just a completely different thing working from a photo - a lack of urgency to get it down, a more orderly approach when I have all the elements already laid out in 2D... it just doesn't have that edge, somehow. There are some areas of this that I'm pleased with - the reflections in the left foreground, the tops of the reeds, but I want to try it again and get more abstract, rhythmic and colourful. This rough sketch is the kind of feel I'm looking for, though obviously its on the far side of 'loose'!
I have just discovered the work of Adrian Berg RA (that sounds like a South African name - but he's not) and would love my newbie landscapes to develop along those lines - do I see hints of Hockney in his work, or should that be vice versa?

When it comes to dedicated plein air painters - Adam Cope is right up there, out in the beautiful Dordogne. He has done a very nice thing for the New Year - a French tradition - paying homage to some fellow art bloggers and I am so honoured to be included on his list. My regular sketching habit, as well as plein air watercolouring began on a fabulous Chateau painting holiday that my sisters and I went on three years ago - merci Adam (and that is still about the extent of my French!) Plein air on the Dordogne (too big for the scanner so I had to photograph it) - I really sloshed the paint around on this one - had a wonderful time, and see how I stopped before it got overworked. In fact I think it was Adam who said "Stop"... a lesson to take note of!

15 comments:

Charlene Brown said...

Those are very perceptive comments about plein air... It really is more of a thrill to successfully 'get it down' when you're actually out in it!

Congratulations on your inclusion in Adam Cope's homage! What a huge range of excellent work it is, and each of you unique!

Cathy Gatland said...

Thanks Charlene - I guess its not news to experienced plein-airists, but I keep thinking I'll do the same thing at home and it doesn't happen!

Carol King said...

Cathy, these are just beautiful. You're an inspiration.

Art with Liz said...

These are both terrific Cathy, but the Dordogne is absolutely beautiful - wonderful colours just blending into each other!

Maree said...

This is really beautiful Cathy! Great light and colour! By the way, seeing as you visited the Zambezi River on your 50th, I found a great link to the story of Nyaminyami, the Zambezi River God : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_legend_of_Nyaminyami - it explains the legend more fully.

RHCarpenter said...

Well, the top painting is more polished, finished, and more tight but it's gorgeous! And then, so is the bottom one - both in their own ways. I'm glad you're not stopping the plein aire because you do it so well and I'd miss those loose, open paintings - hope the weather turns dry and warm for you soon. You wouldn't be doing any outside painting here - too much snow and ice and cold!!! Have to check out Adam's blog now...

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Working with real life is such a pleasure and somehow you can just pick out what you fancy to create a composition. I think painting from photos is an art in itself - by the time I have got some first marks down I tend to put the photo aside and just keep going from memory. It leads to less 'tight' work I feel. My biggest problem has always been knowing when to stop - I sure need that Adam Cope by my side!!! I'm popping straight over to his website when I've posted this comment. Great handling of greens in both pieces I feel.

Debbie Drechsler said...

I, too, like both paintings. Each works very well in it's own way. And you put into words what I've experienced about painting plein air and working from a photo. Now that I've begun working "in the field" I find it very difficult to get excited painting in the studio! Spoiled forever! I hope you get some good weather and can get back out there and have some fun. Hopefully, minus the dogs!

Cathy Gatland said...

Thank you Carol, Liz, Maree - and thanks for that link - so interesting! My dad worked a little on Kariba - I'm thankful Nyaminyami didn't get him!

Hi Rhonda - it's been warm, but wet and stormy - thanks so much, take care in that snow and ice!

Joan, that sounds like a good idea to leave the photo quite early on - and stop in time! Green is what we've got here now in abundance.

Thanks Debbie - it is addictive isn't it, and so much more engaging than working from photos, though sometimes that's necessary.

Gillian said...

Love the steamy Jo'burg summer with those afternoon storm clouds brewing. And the contrasting pressing, quiet heat of the Dordogne afternoon - good memories!Oh to be back in both places. Lovely to see you on Facebook Urban Sketchers!

Vivienne said...

Dearest Cathy.. congratulations on Adam's homage, well deserved. I am proud that our trip together has had such rich results, (apart from being one of my best ever holidays.) When I saw your sketch ,it reminded me independently of Fiona's drawing of reflections in the river (remember? Funny because her work so controlled).
Onward and upward! Hooray!

Helen Percy Lystra said...

Not bad work from the photograph but I can see the difference and you inspire me to do more plein air work... but when the weather is warmer here...

Vivienne said...

A lot of work has been facilitated by the addition of your studio, too, hasn't it?

Suzanne McDermott said...

Beautiful, Cathy! I also love your facebook foot sketch (hysterical) as well as the cityscape in most recent post). Thanks for your kind and thoughtful remarks on my blog. I appreciate your appreciation! And for your friendship. It's a more wonderful blogworld because you're in it. I'll keep you posted. XO

Adam Cope said...

oh hello Cathy, somewhat belatedly, ah hem, been non-bloggy recently :-)

that's kind of you to mention me here. Yes i remember that day by the river...it was fun & no one fell in I seemto remeber ;-)

actually by 'day five' most 'advanced level' students are chumping at the bit to just paint & do their own thing...

The recipe of a wet on wet 'demi-teint generale' (half-tone laid over all the page & quickly worked into whilst wet) to start off with is a great 'anti-dote' to 'illustrators' with strong drawing skills that gravitate around things & 'found'edges. It's what Turner did = the change from coloured drawings ie. lines in pencil with colour washes over the top in fairly dry manner to atmosphere, colour & light ie 'lost'edges

Adrain Berg is a very 'thingy' landscapist, even hus trees are like wierd jig-saw puzzles.

Golly, amI wearing my teaching hat again?

Keep on making your great stuff, in whatever way works & feels right!