Category Archives: Plein Air

Street Trees

Street Trees 24x24 inches Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas ©2017 Lucinda Howe $1,300

Street Trees
24×24 inches
Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas
©2017 Lucinda Howe
$1,300

Last Saturday, September 18th, I painted in Winnsboro, South Carolina at Barbara Yongue’s Plein Air Paintout, an event in conjunction with Oil Painters of America.  28 artists participated in the event and set up an exhibit for a reception in the afternoon.  I painted on Congress Street, the main thoroughfare of the town.  As usual, I was more interested in the trees along the side streets than the buildings.  I started with a transparent underpainting of orange and red to contrast with the variety of greens in the foliage, leaving just a suggestion of the red brick buildings in the background. 

Also posted in Acrylics Tagged |

Storm Grove

Value pattern painted on location

Value pattern painted on location

Last Monday I painted outdoors in pleasant late summer weather. I completed most of a small painting and started a larger canvas. Since the larger canvas was already toned with a mid-value red-orange, I established the light and dark pattern with white and black paint.

Storm Grove in progress

Storm Grove in progress

Today Hurricane Irma passed to the west of Columbia, bringing wind and rain and making us concerned for the welfare of friends and relatives in Florida and other parts of the southeast. Not being able to go outside, I worked in my studio most of the day. I decided to work on the large canvas I started last week, using the small painting as a reference. I decided on a yellow-green and purple complementary color scheme and painted quickly, limiting blending and preserving brush strokes.

My studio is surrounded by trees that swayed in the gray light of the storm as I worked.After blocking in the trees, I decided on a light purple sky and light green background foliage to show light coming through the trees. When I finished the painting, I felt that it reflected the weird light and uneasiness that comes with a storm.

Storm Grove 24x24 inches Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas ©2017 Lucinda Howe

Storm Grove
24×24 inches
Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas
©2017 Lucinda Howe

Also posted in Acrylics Tagged |

New Beginnings

 

 

Oak Trio by Lucinda Howe

Oak Trio
9×12 inches
Acrylic on masonite
©2017 Lucinda Howe

Ah, September!  

Although January is officially the beginning of the year, September always makes me think of starting new projects.  Maybe it’s a holdover from school days.  September is the beginning of the year for many clubs and organizations.  It makes me hope that cooler weather is on the way.  I have some plein air painting trips planned for this fall, so I wanted to get my brushes wet and see if I remembered how to paint. 

Today I set aside my sewing and went over to Clemson’s Sandhill Research and Education center to paint.  I was inspired by these old live oaks.  There aren’t many trees this large around my neighborhood.  It’s wonderful to have these beautiful trees nearby.  

 

Also posted in Acrylics Tagged |

Quebec City

Quebec City Tulips ©2017 Lucinda Howe

Quebec City
Tulips
©2017 Lucinda Howe

The second part of Jane LaFazio’s watercolor sketching class was in Quebec City, Canada. After a cool, wet spring, the weather warmed up the week we arrived.  The tulips were in full bloom around the Chateau Frontenac and City Hall, but as the temperature rose to 85 degrees, the petals were dropping even as Jane conducted a lesson in flower painting.

 

Quebec City Window boxes ©2017 Lucinda Howe

Quebec City
Window boxes
©2017 Lucinda Howe

The city had beautiful old buildings with flower boxes on many of the windows.  I did these sketches quickly in pencil and added watercolor later when I had a few spare minutes. 

 

Quebec City Boat Tour on St. Lawrence River ©2017 Lucinda Howe

Quebec City
Boat Tour on St. Lawrence River
©2017 Lucinda Howe

One afternoon, we enjoyed a boat tour on the St Lawrence River on the Louis Jolliet, named for the French explorer and cartographer. 

 

 Île d'Orléans ©2017 Lucinda Howe

Île d’Orléans
©2017 Lucinda Howe

On our last day together, we had a tour of  Île d’Orleans, and island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, a short drive from Quebec City, known as the “garden of Quebec”.  The island has a warm microclimate and is know for its produce including strawberries, apples, wines, and maple syrup. 

Also posted in Travel Tagged , |

Oakleaf Hydrangea

Oakleaf Hydrangea 12x12 inches Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas ©2017 Lucinda Howe $395

Oakleaf Hydrangea
12×12 inches
Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas
©2017 Lucinda Howe
$395

Hydrangea quercifolia, commonly known as oak leaf hydrangea, is blooming in my garden this week.  We’ve had moderate temperatures and some rain recently, so the garden is a lush tapestry of many shades of green.  The challenge for a plein air painter is to simplify the surroundings and focus on the identifying characteristics of the plant, in this case the large lobed leaves and white panicles.

Also posted in Acrylics, Garden Tagged |

Along the Cart Path

Along the Cart Path 5.5 x 17 inches Watercolor on paper ©2017 Lucinda Howe

Along the Cart Path
5.5 x 17 inches
Watercolor in journal
©2017 Lucinda Howe

After doing some yard cleanup and mulching this week, I was inspired to relax on the deck and paint the view of the perennial garden and golf course in the back.  It’s nice to have a green background that I don’t have to maintain.  

Also posted in Garden Tagged |

Spring in My Garden

Spring in My Garden 5.5x17 inches Watercolor and ink on paper ©2017 Lucinda Howe

Spring in My Garden
5.5×17 inches
Watercolor and ink on paper
©2017 Lucinda Howe

Last Saturday, the plein air group painted in my garden and had lunch at my house.  I didn’t paint because I couldn’t focus on cooking and painting at the same time.  Today was a calmer day and the weather was beautiful, so I perched on my concrete bench and painted this scene in my watercolor book. 

I don’t have many flowers blooming yet, but there was dappled light and shadow on the ground and many variations of green in the foliage.  I used diverse brush strokes and ink accents to add texture the painting. 

 

Also posted in Garden Tagged |

April in Winnsboro

April in Winnsboro 5.5 x 17 inches Watercolor on paper ©2017 Lucinda Howe

April in Winnsboro
5.5 x 17 inches
Watercolor on paper
©2017 Lucinda Howe

This week in South Carolina the weather is beautiful.  It’s prime time for gardening and plein air painting.  Today I had the opportunity to have lunch and paint with Barbara Yongue, Melinda Smith, and Alice Marcel at a beautiful home and garden in Winnsboro.  What a treat! This small piece was painted across two pages in my watercolor journal. 

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Windy Day at Sandhill

Windy Day at Sandhill 5.5 x 17 inches Watercolor on paper ©2017 Lucinda Howe

Windy Day at Sandhill
5.5 x 17 inches
Watercolor on paper
©2017 Lucinda Howe

Last Saturday, the plein air group was painting at Sandhill Research and Education Center in northeast Richland County, South Carolina. I wanted to go because it’s near my house and a favorite place to paint, but the weather report predicted rain. Through the morning the sky got darker and darker, and it started to sprinkle, but I decided to go anyway. Arriving about 10:00 am, I didn’t have long to paint, so I made a small painting in my watercolor book.

Clemson’s property is a small reminder of our rural heritage in the midst of the Two Notch/Clemson Road suburbia. In this painting, I wanted to capture the sandy road between the trees and equipment shed with only a hint of the surrounding industry in the background.

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6 Tips to Improve Your Plein Air Painting Experience

Popcorn's Ready 5.5 x 17 inches Watercolor on Strathmore Watercolor boo ©2017 Lucinda Howe Not for Sale

Popcorn’s Ready
5.5 x 17 inches
Watercolor on Strathmore Watercolor book
©2017 Lucinda Howe
Not for Sale

If you haven’t painted outdoors (“en plein air”), you might be hesitant to meet up with a group of painters and get started. I encourage you to join in the fun.

On Saturday morning, I joined the About Face group at Soda City market in Columbia, South Carolina. I was running late, so I had only an hour to work before critique and lunch. The market was busy, so I knew I couldn’t capture a lot of detail. I decided to work small in a watercolor book. I sat on the low wall at Boyd Plaza near the Kettle Corn tent. The man rang the bell every time the popcorn was ready. Although you see only the painting, I remember the ringing of the bell, the smell of the popcorn, and the movement of the people, dogs, and strollers. For me, the best part of painting in a busy environment like Soda City is the memories of the sensations I experienced while painting.

If you would like to try outdoor painting, here are 6 tips to get you started….

  • Supplies- Pack your kit with easel, paints, supports, brushes, tools, bug spray and sunscreen. When I started plein air painting, I would go out in my back yard and paint, and I always forgot something.   I’d go back into the house to get the paper towels, then I’d go back for the bug spray, then the kneaded eraser, until I finally had everything I needed. Then I made a checklist to be sure I had the essentials when I ventured out with a group.
  • Scouting – When you arrive at the site, scout around. Look at the angle of the sun, take photos, think about composition before you select your spot.
  • Shade – It’s important to be in the shade for the sake of your skin. Also, your canvas should be in the shade or the painting will be too dark when you take it inside.
  • Small Supports – Sketchbooks, small panels and canvases require minimal paint and can be completed in a couple of hours. It’s more satisfying to complete most of the piece on site than to just get started before time to quit. Painting small also forces you to narrow your focus and simplify your composition. Save the large canvases until you have more experience.
  • Senses – Outdoor painting is not just about what you see. Observe the smells, tastes, sounds, and feelings that surround you as you paint.
  • Sharing – Be sure to share your drawing or painting with others. You’ll learn from group critique, but you will also be able to share your unique view of the experience with others. I’m always amazed at how all the artists have different perspectives on similar subject matter. Isn’t that what visual communication is all about?

As we move into spring, there will be more opportunities to paint with plein air groups and to pack your art supplies for vacation travels. If you would like more information about painting with a group around Columbia, SC, contact me. If you don’t paint here, paint somewhere!

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