We begin a series of painting demonstrations by the master artists who will be sharing their ideas and inspiration during the Plein Air Convention & Expo in Monterey, California, from April 10-14, 2013 (www.pleinairconvention.com). Here is a helpful painting demonstration by Morgan Samuel Price, one of the artists who will participating in the convention.
I created this plein air painting during a recent trip to Canaveral National Seashore in Oak Hill, Florida. My supplies included a panel covered with Claussen Linen C #13, a linen that is a smooth, portrait grade. I toned that surface with a thin, transparent wash of Gamblin’s transparent earth red, and while the oil color was still wet, I began to draw into the wash with a bristle brush loaded with cerulean blue.
Step 1: I quickly sketch the vegetation with cerulean blue. I often start this way because the color lacks power, so any other color I use from on my palette will overpower it. Once I have an initial layout of the composition, I add a few darks. No matter how the painting is composed, the initial large shapes will be retained until the end of the painting process. As I continue to work, I design within the established shapes.
Step 2: Now the color begins to take shape. There isn’t much definition at this point, just an easy layering of the foundation color on which I will build subsequent layers. Most of the colors are lower in intensity and in the middle range of value. As I work the paint from dark to light values, the shapes begin to develop with some significance and with edges being suggested. Working throughout the painting gives it a cohesive appearance.
Step 3: I then add the suggestion of light and break down the larger shapes into smaller ones. The changes are subtle at this point, and I retain the large shapes of flora and fauna.
Step 4: I introduce warm colors in the shadow areas. Note that the value of the shadow contrasts with the vertical planes. The shadows are redesigned, and I suggest the light on the sandy floor of the forest.
Step 5: Next I make slight adjustments in each significant area. I introduce more light into the sandy areas and small touches of light on the forms and spatial differences.
Step 6: The planes of the fronds are defined with the shapes of the lights. As the color is built toward the lighter values, the intensity of the color decreases to suggest the illusion of light on the planes.
Step 7: During this final stage, I define the movement of light through the picture plane by enhancing the darks. That will direct the viewer’s eyes. I also add the final finishing touches. Note the original suggestion of form and gesture evident in the initial stages of painting are still evident. I tweak the highlights, and then the painting is complete.
Morgan Samuel Price
Morgan Samuel Price grew up in Ohio but moved to Florida to study at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota. She then traveled to New Mexico to study with Robert Carl Cogar, who, she says, “pointed me in the right direction, clarified the necessary information which enabled me to develop into the artist I am today.” After working and maintaining art studios in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Ohio, Price settled permanently in Altamonte Springs, Florida, where she now teaches workshop, produces instructional books and DVDs, and ventures off around the world to paint and teach. For more information about upcoming workshops, books, and DVDs, visit her website at www.morgansamuelprice.com.