Saturday, March 17, 2012

The View from Surgeo's Balcony (11-23-2011)
oil on panel, 12 x 18

I painted this from my friend Surgeo's balcony. His place has an amazing view! This painting captures about 1% of how it actually looks from his place, a view that requires 9 flights of stairs and a lot of heavy breathing after (need to get in shape! ha!)

This is one of a very few plein air attempts i have successfully accomplished. I loved every bit of it! Working at night feels great, there is no worry about the light changing so quickly, and one has a bit of freedom in color choice.

my set up, and the amazing view of Los Angeles from Monterey Park

I had been playing with the idea to paint at night for a long time, mainly trying to figure out how to light up my easel at night, and have it be enough light to both illuminate my palette and painting surface, as well as not interfere with the surroundings.

One day while at a book store, which shall remain nameless (lets just say it starts with the letter "B" and ends with "arnes & Noble") I came across the book light section. They have a variety of clamp-on book lights, some pricey, some cheap. This was exactly what I was looking for, they offer cool, white light, and are small and portable, and the best part, they can clamp on to any surface and not get in the way.

A bit of advice on color and value for painting night scenes on location, amp up your saturation when making a color choice, and make the value lighter than you think it should be. I have done other paintings out at night since this one, and one thing i found was that when i brought them back in, they were much darker from what they had looked like on location, both in color and value.

It takes a bit of practice to finally get it right, but i can guarantee a fun experience nonetheless.