The Fine Art of Painting
Outdoors

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Articles in this primer
Painting Kit - Your materials list
on this page-Pick a site and Getting started
Before you begin painting
Getting to it!
Things you attract

 

 

Pick a site

This is one of those things that should be easy but can prove to be a problem for the first time painter.

 

         
Find a site where you will not be overwhelmed by the vista. We all see things that interest us. Remember one? Go there. Start with a local scene, one you see all the time. If you are a little new at painting and don't want a lot of attention drawn to you, the back yard is always a good place to start. A bonus to working in the back yard is that if you forgot something in your painting kit it should be easy to retrieve.

Some watercolor books talk about stretching paper. This removes all the sizing on the paper. I don't like the way the paint reacts after this process so I don't do it. If you are used to stretching your paper do it before you leave your house.

 

Getting Started

You've found the perfect site. There's perfect scenery all around you. Oh yea, it's all around you.  Well don't just stand there pick the one direction.   Can't decide. Walk around the site.

Ask yourself these questions?

Why did I stop here? 
What did I see that brought me to this place? (that's when you see your perfect site is not so perfect or there's a lot more here you like just as much.) If you brought a camera hold it up and look through the viewfinder for your subject. If you do not have a camera you can take a piece of 8 x 10 notebook paper and cut a small hole the same ratio of your paper. Or close to it. Hold it up in front of you and look for a scene. Remember look first at what interests you about the site you are on. Then, and this is important, forget what you are looking at. What?, you say.  Yes, forget that you are looking at an object such as a tree, lake, house, etc.  and start think shape, form etc.  Remember that light and dark is what will define your work, so look for light against dark and dark against light. Landscapes generally fall into three values, light, middle, dark. Is the sky lighter or darker than the foreground etc

When you see a good composition.  You are ready to set up your art equipment.