Category Archives: Plein Air

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. 

Tagged , |

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.

Tagged |

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!

Tagged , |

Barnwell State Park

Calm Before the Storm 24x24 inches Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas ©2016 Lucinda Howe NFS

Calm Before the Storm
24×24 inches
Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas
©2016 Lucinda Howe
NFS

The South Carolina Park Service offers an Artist in Residence program at some of the state parks. Last fall I applied and was accepted for a stay at Barnwell State Park in the rural area between Aiken and Orangeburg. The deal is that I would receive the use of a cabin for a week in exchange for an original piece of art inspired by my stay. After contacting Eddie Richburg, the Park Manager, I scheduled my visit for October 2016, a time when the park would have low attendance and lovely autumn weather.

I forgot to consider hurricane season.

When I arrived at the park on Monday, October 3rd, it was a warm sunny day. My cabin was a dodecagon, divided into 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, and living area. I explored the park and painted a small piece on Tuesday. My sister came and spent her time writing while I was painting. We were glad to have satellite TV service because we were watching the approach of Hurricane Matthew.

Thursday was a beautiful sunny autumn day. There was a lot of yellow beginning to show among the green leaves. I painted the piece above by a small lake, trying to capture the glow of the translucent back-lit leaves. After I varnished and framed this piece at home, it’s on its way to become part of the park’s collection of art.

As Matthew came closer, I bought gas and gathered no-cook food, but I wasn’t worried.   My sister was smart and decided to leave the park and head back to North Carolina on Friday.   The park rangers told me they expected only wind and rain and that the park’s cabins and campgrounds were full of people who had evacuated from the coast.

On Friday night the storm was quite an experience.  I heard several things hit the roof and roll off. I could see the tall trees swaying by the security light. I saw some car lights and activity around neighboring cabin #3 around 3:30 am.  The power went off around 4 am and it was DARK in the words without any lights.  The next morning I couldn’t do much without power and decided to pack up and leave.   The park manager came by and said there were three trees down on top of cabin #3!!  He and the rangers rescued the guests and gave them cots to sleep on in the laundry facility.  Fortunately no one was hurt. The rangers also had to cut several trees off the roads to get around the park in the morning. I drove home and found minimal damage in Columbia although I saw a lot of power lines down along the way. I was glad to be home!

After I told my husband my story, he said he was sorry I had that BAD experience.   I said, wait… it was a GOOD experience. I had a good visit with my sister, made three paintings, and survived a hurricane without getting squashed by a tree.   The park manager and rangers were taking care of things. What’s bad about that? I guess it’s all in your perspective.

Anyway, I enjoyed my residency and look forward to applying for a stay in a different park sometime in the future. I appreciate the park service’s program that encourages artists to experience and celebrate South Carolina’s natural resources. If my experience hasn’t scared you off, and if you’re an artist who would be interested in applying for a residency, check out this link. The application for 2017 is due October 31st, so apply now!

Also posted in Acrylics, Travel Tagged , |

Morning at McNair Farm

Morning at McNair Farm 12x12 inches Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas ©2016 Lucinda Howe $395

Morning at McNair Farm
12×12 inches
Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas
©2016 Lucinda Howe
$395

Last weekend I participated in a paint out in Winnsboro hosted by Barbara Yongue in  conjunction with Oil Painters of America.  It’s such a treat to have a local event to show off the beauty of the midlands of South Carolina.  Here is a report from Barbara on the events of the day.

OPA 2016 – GREAT AMERICAN PAINT OUT – WINNSBORO, SC

The weather God gave Winnsboro, SC residents a wonderful treat Saturday October 15…. Great weather and great art happened here in conjunction with a plein air event held by local OPA member Barbara Yongue.

Twenty artists from around the state met at her home and were checked in, and after a light breakfast they were sent on their way to produce art for a 2 hour show and reception held at the Winnsboro Woman’s Club that evening.  
Ribbons were presented by the highly esteemed judge Anne Hightower Patterson White who also went on to explain why she awarded each piece a ribbon.  

Rosie Phillips of Charleston,SC won 3rd place
Mark Conrardy of Columbia won 2nd place
Noelle Brault of Columbia won 1st place
Pete Holland of Columbia won Best in Show and People’s Choice
Many members of the Fairfield County, SC community attended the show and several pieces were sold to the admiring public.

Congratulations to all the winners!

 

Peaceful Afternoon

Peaceful Afternoon 14x18 inches Acrylic on masonite ©2016 Lucinda Howe

Peaceful Afternoon
14×18 inches
Acrylic on masonite
©2016 Lucinda Howe

After I installed my show at Still Hopes on Saturday, I was tired of framing, hauling, hanging, labeling, and publicizing. I needed to get back to my preferred activity… painting. But I had limited time Saturday afternoon, and I didn’t want to waste time scouting the perfect location and getting started.

So I decided to go out to Sandhill Research and Education Center, a familiar location near my home.   From previous experience, I knew I’d find several lakes, barns, and trees. If I could find an interesting angle of light, I could make a painting.

I found a spot next to the lake that had interesting shadows and set up my easel. I blocked in the value pattern with reds and yellows in fluid acrylics that dry quickly. Then I added blues and greens in layers to build up the foliage. Using large brushes, I didn’t get bogged down in details.  See the process in the video below.

This painting came together quickly.   Sometimes constraints remove the decision making stress. My most successful plein air paintings are done with energy and focus.  The result has a vitality that belies the previous experience and planning behind the work.

Also posted in Acrylics Tagged |

Stormy Morning

Stormy Morning 9x12 inches Oil on Raymar panel ©2016 Lucinda Howe $295

Stormy Morning
9×12 inches
Oil on Raymar panel
©2016 Lucinda Howe
$295

On a recent trip to the South Carolina coast, a storm front moved through and brought scattered showers all weekend.  I went out early one morning and painted on a dock over the marsh to catch the sunrise lighting the underside of the clouds.

Also posted in Oil Painting Tagged |