Melvin Ave Plein Air

Saturday was beautiful so I took my paints and trekked out to the end of my street. It ends at the waterworks in the city of Cortland. It was my first plein air outing of 2020 (really, my first outing since our Ireland workshop in May 2019.)

my set up at the end of melvin ave

I broke some rules right away. I didn’t start with a value sketch or think of a sentence as to why I am painting the scene I picked. I was just so excited to paint outside! My husband had taken our son for a drive (Trinity Valley pick up!) so I painted for about 2 hours, which is the longest I think I’ve sat and painted in years. I tried to take my time – I usually paint in quick 10 – 30 minute sessions!

I start with a simple line drawing, mapping out shapes. I really thought I would add more of the creek but decided to focus mostly on the trees.

I start with my lights, painting yellows in the grass, light blue on some trees. I am saving my light areas. The blue sky in the upper left corner can be painted in as well, since what goes over it – the leaves – will be darker.

Adding color! I love exaggerating the color I see in tree bark.

I think about how the tree meets the background. It’s great to vary dark against light and light against dark. Think value and color, soft and hard edges.

I start to add the background foliage. I am really creeping up on the darks. I should have added a real good dark in right away. That helps me balance values.

My set up. I was in the company of geese and ducks. I witnessed a territory spiff between 4 geese. I think one duck was trying to pose.

Adding some branches.

Half way through my painting I decided to do a quick value sketch. I think I definitely need more value contrast overall.

I finish after about 2 hours. Those 2 hours included lots of sitting and looking at the scene and my painting. I never let myself do that! I definitely need to focus on value more in my next piece!

Where should I paint next?

8 thoughts on “Melvin Ave Plein Air

  1. It’s a beautiful painting, Emily! I love the blue in the trees, the background, and the shadows. Absolutely lovely! Denise


  2. I loved looking at this! I’m not artistic at all, but love water color in particular and really enjoy your work!


  3. Always love to see your work Emily! But I find it hard to believe YOU spent two hours on it! That’s not you… focused, wet with multiple colors, loose, quick strokes, and done!


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