Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Plein Air painting w/ Stan Moeller

This afternoon I joined a small group of Seacoast painters at Fort Foster in Kittery Point, Maine for a plein air demonsration by one of my favorite local artist, Stan Moeller. Stan is so deadly with a paintbrush, legend has it that a man once died of a heart attack after being awe struck at the beauty of his artwork.

Stan set up on a rock on the beach at kittery Point and quickly got to work, slashing paint and making it look very easy. A little more than an hour and he had finished a really nice 9x12 plein air study. 5 quick tips I learned from the master today:

1) Make your own quick-dry white by mixing 1/3 part Griffin Alkyd White and 2/3 Permalba white
2) Start with warm darks. I usually start with a warm Raw Umber but Stan uses a nice mix with umber, a little red and a warm blue. This makes a much richer and bolder dark.
3) Underpaint the sky with an Indian Yellow. (I don't have that color but I mixed Cad Yellow with a touch of Alizeran Crimson). Stan laid in the yellow early in the painting with liquin and a little gamsol. Wiped away the excess and let it dry so he could return to it later and paint over it with blues. Clearly this isn't reccomended for all skies but presents the notion of underpainting whatever color is neccessary for the given sky you're painting.
4) "The Color Shaper". A small stylus with a rubber tip. Various shaped tips available. I think it's a pastel painters tool but Stan used it to remove small passages of paint in areas he wanted to add a different color, without smearing and making mud.
5) First layers painted thinly with liquin and gamsol so they set (dry). Later in painting, thicker paint rides along the surface where needed.

I am posting a picture of Stan working on his demo. I am also posting my plein air sketch of a winding road that I painted after the demo.

It was inspiring to finally see Stan paint, great afternoon.

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