Class Notes: Painters Just Want to Get OUT

Tuesday evening the class painted on the edge of town; lots of great views but late afternoon showers were still blowing over and we painted in a light but persistent rain.
More annoying than difficult, it does beg the question - WHY?
Everyone says they want to paint plein air and most of my class painters are very hardy but these are times that separate those that do and those that simply want to - it is an observation and a question of motivation.
I have found that most painters that pursue plein air work have one major thing in common: they love to be OUTSIDE.
We could discuss the importance of direct observation, the benefits of being on site and the finer points of technique in the landscape -
all of it good - but when temps are below freezing, wind threatens to blow you over or, as in this case, the drip, drip, drip soaks you through (my under painting literally slide off the panel) - something must make it more attractive than sitting in a dry studio.
It can't be bragging rights (how cold was it?)
especially when there is no painting to show for it - ouch.

We were rewarded with 2 rainbows and a wonderful sunset, this might be part of it. My studio does not have this kind of view.

Class Notes: Beautiful Days of July

In Colorado, these are the days we live for: sunny and almost no wind, afternoon storms filling the sky with beyond-belief clouds that later part to create amazing sunsets, and beautiful evenings full of stars.
Last week class met overlooking the river.
On the right, I painted looking into the morning sun. The mountains appear as a flat shape, almost the same value as the sky, creating a good foil for the tree shapes below which are partly back lit.
Soon the sun would rise higher and light would define all the different shapes of the mountain,
but that would be a different painting.

Later in the week we went out to the
wetlands near our local golf course
and I turned my back on the sun and
faced a group of trees getting
the full morning light.

These are typical valley views:
cottonwood groves, wetlands,
all on the backdrop of
14,000 ft peaks that surround the valley.
Both paintings here are 8"x10".