It is amazing what you can learn from someone else. Here I had just written on why I felt guilty about not doing my paintings “plein air” style (on location) and I wasn’t sure why. Then last Saturday morning I attended a plein air demo and talk by our event juror, Mike Hernandez. I AM SO GLAD I WENT.
As soon as he started talking I reached into my purse looking for paper to write his words of wisdom down on. I found a receipt from my gas station coffee purchase. This receipt is now covered on both sides with little frantic notes.
Mike spoke about color theory and how he feels that shadows are still warm colors (it’s not just me?!). He spoke about how the blue of sky effects the color of the grass and how the canopy of the trees blocks that blue a bit and so under the tree the color you use should be less blue, not more. He spoke of color relationships, of really looking at what you are studying, not just “knowing” that the tree is green. He spoke and showed us how to mix dozens of different greens (heaven on earth for this lady!). And the most important thing he said (for me) is that the camera makes a choice. We can see so much more then our cameras, but when we take a photo the camera chooses the hue, chroma, and lightness. Later on if you increase the saturation you are just increasing the camera’s choice you can’t bring back what it discarded.
He also gave me a personal critique after the awards presentation at the gallery. I am very thankful for his time, and his words and his constructive criticism. I have thought of them while I worked this week and will continue to put in practice what he taught. It will make me a better artist, and so will plein air painting.
Thanks again Mike.