La Veta Plein Air Event

The LaVeta- Cuchara area in southern Colorado is so beautiful - being there to paint for this plein air event was pure pleasure. Above is the West Spanish Peak; there are 2 and they dominate the landscape. If you look carefully at the top photo, - behind and above the left, foreground bank of trees, up to a green valley nestled in the arms of the mountain and, not quite covered with the shadow of the great stone "vein" - that is where the lower photo was taken. Sue McCullough and I painted from that spot and below she stands by her First Prize piece of that view.

 Here, David Montgomery and Kathy Hill discuss, what else - art, while looking at Sue's painting of the 2 Fox Cabins and Dave's piece sitting above it - which- unfortunately, was not delivered in time for the 2pm competition deadline.
Curt Gillispie won 2 Place with his piece "Painter in the park", Kathy Hill stands with her 3rd Place painting of the Spanish Peak and Aaron Fanning won Honorable Mention for his triptych paintings. Click on any of the photos to view them larger.

LaVeta Workshop

I had a great time last week, teaching a 1 day workshop in LaVeta. My students were all accomplished but had not ever worked out in the landscape, en plein air. This is the best kind of student -  motivated for information with skills under their belts. I have found however, even long time painters can struggle in the landscape.
How does one see, analyze, and synthesize information- do it quickly and apply it to canvas in a way that creates a reasonable composition- and in the end a reasonable rendering of the subject?
Ah, there's the rub. . .  everyone looks at the landscape, not everyone sees it.
In the morning we talked about materials and method (I am big on method) and how to see composition in the landscape, with the help of a 2 value sketch.
A workshop teacher can yak all day about color and light in the landscape but learning how to see the landscape for what is possible - is where I like to start with students.
The view I used for demo was front lit and a little flat. In the 2 value sketch I work out the large value shapes; meaning I create the shapes from what is in the view. At this point, there is no right or wrong, just better and best. Another artist may see and work out a totally different value pattern with the same view; the point is - to see it and WORK it out- in a sketch.
By working out my thoughts early on, and making decisions about how to handle the value shapes - later when the light has changed, I will be less likely to chase it.
Of course, that is only the nutshell version of the morning . . .
Below is my demo, and probably one of my quickest, ever. It is only a 9"x 12", but once I had the sketch worked out, the painting took less that an hour.