Tag Archives: About Face

Plein Air Exhibit

Cocktail Hour, Edisto 14x11" Acrylic on masonite ©2015 Lucinda Howe $425

Cocktail Hour, Edisto
Acrylic on masonite
©2015 Lucinda Howe
$425 (includes frame)

December 1, 2017

The Loft at 115

115 S. Palmer Street, Ridgeway, SC 29130

Holiday Spirits and Hors d’oeuvres will be served

I hope you will join us in Ridgeway, South Carolina, for this show of work by the talented artists of About Face.  I enjoy traveling and painting with this group.  Cocktail Hour, Edisto (above) brings back good memories of a group trip.  I’m always amazed to see the quality and variety of work produced under the challenge of painting outdoors in a limited amount of time.

Come do some Christmas shopping, visit with friends, relax and enjoy yourself before the craziness of the season begins.  

Participating Artists:

















Posted in Plein Air

Impression of Soda City

Soda City

Soda City Market
Oil on gallery wrap canvas
©2013 Lucinda Howe

On Saturday the About Face plein air group painted at Boyd Plaza in front of the Columbia Museum of Art.  We were practicing painting in an impressionistic style to promote the final weekend of the Monet to Matisse exhibit.  Some of the artists painted a costumed model and other scenes in the plaza while I painted my impression of the busy Soda City market on Main Street.


Posted in Oil Painting, Plein Air Also tagged , |

Paint Like an Impressionist


Study for Impressionistic color
Acrylic on paper
©2013 Lucinda Howe

Have you seen the Impressionism from Monet to Matisse exhibit at the Columbia Museum of Art?  The exhibit presents a broad overview of Impressionism and Post-impressionism from the Dixon Gallery and Gardens.  If you haven’t seen it yet, you have a few more days until it closes on April 21st.

My favorite piece from the exhibit is Berthe Morisot’s Peasant Girl Among TulipsI love the color harmony and the way the shapes of the tulips echo the shapes of the girl’s dress and hair.  The colors give the impression of spring by staying with pure light colors and tints of darker colors and having very few dark values.  Complements placed next to each other in similar values create visual vibration.  The color chart above shows the types of pure colors and tints that would create this type of mood.  I often experiment with colors this way to understand how the color scheme works, then use it later with my own images.

If you would like to learn more about how the Impressionsists painted, you are invited to bring your art supplies and paint in Boyd Plaza in front of the Columbia Museum of Art with About Face this Saturday April 20th between 9:00 a.m. and noon.   There will be a costumed model as well as the Columbia cityscape for inspiration.  If you don’t want to paint, just come and watch.

Have you seen the exhibit?  What is your favorite piece?  Would you like to try your hand at painting like one of the Impressionist masters?  See you Saturday!

Posted in Color Theory, Plein Air Also tagged |

Robert Mills House

Robert Mills House

Robert Mills House
Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas
©2012 Lucinda Howe


The About Face plein air group has had several opportunities to paint on the grounds of the historic homes maintained by the Historic Columbia Foundation.  This large painting of the Robert Mills House was inspired by a small piece painted on site and combined with exaggerated color in the studio.

Historic Columbia is celebrating its 50th birthday with a bash on the grounds of the Robert Mills House this Friday, November 9, 2012.  Click here for information about the event.


Posted in Acrylics Also tagged , |

Artist and Model

Artist and Model

Artist and Model
Oil on gessobord
©2012 Lucinda Howe


This month’s third Saturday paint-out with About Face was a paint-in at the Columbia Museum of Art with a costumed model.  Since I’m currently learning how to paint with oils using knives, I continued practicing with this set up.  I was interested in the color harmony between the shirt of the artist in front of me and the model.

For this painting, I blocked in the large shapes with painting knives, and adjusted the details on the model’s face and bodice with brushes after returning to my studio.   I used a limited palette of Alizarin Crimison, Yellow Ochre, Hansa Yellow, Ultramarine Blue, and White.

As a typically introverted artist, I work alone in my studio most of the time.  However, I really enjoy the opportunity to paint with About Face as it always challenges me to paint subject matter I might not have chosen and to learn new skills.  If you are an artist in Columbia who would like to paint with a group, click here for more information.  If you’re not in Columbia, I encourage you to find a local group of figurative or plein air painters and join in.


Posted in Oil Painting, Uncategorized

SC Paintout at Barbara Yongue’s on OutdoorPainter

Melinda Smith and Donna Reed painting en plein air at Barbara Yongue's

Here’s a link to an article about last Saturday’s paintout at Barbara Yongue’s written by Steve Doherty of Plein Air Magazine…



Posted in Plein Air Also tagged , |

Plein Air Day in Lexington, SC


Lexington Museum

Lexington County Museum 16x20" Acrylic by Lucinda Howe


The About Face Plein Air Group will be painting at Lexington County (SC) Museum this Saturday morning, March 19, 2011.  Join us for painting and bring a dish to share for lunch.  Watch the video below to see our plein air day at the museum last fall.



Posted in Plein Air, Uncategorized Also tagged |

Plein Air Day at USC


McCutchen House at USC, by Lucinda Howe, 14x11", Acrylic

This past Saturday, I arrived at the brick gates to the Horseshoe at the University of South Carolina around 8:30 for a plein air day with About Face.   Everything was quiet except for the other painters greeting each other and scouting around for a place to work.  The sun was just starting to light the upper stories of the historic buildings.  The pattern of the palmetto tree shadows against the glowing yellow ochre of the McCutchen house attracted me.  In about 2 hours I started the drawing on a previously prepared red ground and painted the image contrasting warm and cool colors.  During the morning we were joined by USC students, dogs, tourists, and busloads of high school students enjoying the warm weather.  Around 11:30, we gathered for lunch at Di Prato’s and critique outside in the shade with temperatures in the mid 70’s.   At the end, we had 18 artists participating in the plein air event.   What a wonderful day! This is the way February in South Carolina should be!

Posted in Acrylics, Plein Air, Uncategorized Also tagged , |

How to Find a Plein Air Location

Framing a painting

A landscape painting being framed with a view finder.

View finder

Line up major lines of the image with lines at thirds in the viewfinder. Don't forget a landscape painting can be in a vertical format.

Now that the weather is getting warmer, it’s time to do some plein air painting!

Last fall I suggested starting in your own back yard to get comfortable with setting up your easel and making sure you have all the necessary supplies.  So what do you do when it’s time to venture out beyond your own yard?

When I first started painting outdoors, I spent a lot of time driving around looking for the perfect spot.  Believe me, there is never a perfect spot.  There is always light at the wrong angle, or there’s a cell tower in the way, or the sun sets too fast.  Not to mention BUGS.  Anyway, I wasted a lot of time and gas looking.  Then I started painting with a group where someone else chose the location, and I had to make something out of whatever was there.  I also saw other artists make beautiful little paintings of an old tire swing or a fire hydrant, and I began to realize that the artist’s job is to see what others don’t and to create beauty from mundane situations.  If you can do that, you can make a painting almost anywhere.

Even though no location is perfect, some are better than others.  Here are a few suggestions for your first few excursions:

  1. Paint with a group if possible.  It’s safer than going alone, and you can learn from more experienced painters while enjoying the camaraderie.
  2. Find a place in the shade for your easel.  If you paint with the sun on your easel, your painting will be too dark.
  3. Find a spot where you are sideways to the light.   That is, the light comes from the left or the right, not from behind your back or directly in your eyes.  This helps to create a 3-dimensional look to your objects because they will have a light side and a shadow side.
  4. Use the viewfinder in your camera or a piece of cardboard with a rectangular hole about 1×1.5 inches to narrow your field of vision and help you focus.  Imagine two vertical lines and two horizontal lines dividing your image into thirds each way so there are 9 sections (think tic-tac-toe).  Adjust your viewfinder so that major horizontal and vertical lines in the landscape are along the imaginary lines.  For example, place the horizon or edge of a lake one-third of the way up from the bottom.  And put a tall tree or building at one of the vertical lines.  With the basis of your composition established, draw the main lines in the same position on your support, and then draw the rest of the shapes as they relate to the main structural lines.
  5. Don’t worry if you don’t get further than the drawing the first few times.  Painting outdoors can be overwhelming, so don’t stress about whether you finish your painting.  Just relax and enjoy the process.

If you are ready to get started, you’re invited to join the About Face group for a plein air day this Saturday, February 19, at the USC Horseshoe.  Meet at the Sumter Street gate at 8:30 a.m. or look for painters around the Horseshoe during the morning.  We’ll meet at Diprato’s Delicatessen at 11:30 for lunch.  See you there!

Posted in Basics, Plein Air Also tagged , |

Plein Air Day

Since Fall has arrived in this part of the country (by the calendar if not by the thermometer), it’s a great time to be outside, so my next few posts will be about plein air painting.   Here is a video from a recent day of plein air  painting with About Face, a group of artists who paint portraits and figures at the Columbia Museum of Art every week and plein air landscapes once a month.


For more information about painting with About Face, click here.

To see more of my paintings, click here.

Next time…. How to get started painting “en plein air”.

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