Thursday, June 12, 2008

Out to the Savannah

Flamboyant, acrylic sketch, approx 10 x 12"

On Tuesday this week I went with the Plein Air Picassos to the Savannah to paint a spectacular Flamboyant tree in bloom. It was a fun outing. I arrived first at 8:05 am and did a pencil study in my sketchbook before anyone else arrived, and then another. Caroline Mair was next and she did a lovely drawing in black oil paint on the open spread of a small sketchbook, very graphic and striking. Then the others showed up in a bunch.

It was a scorching hot day and although I'd carefully chosen a tree with deep shade, I still got some sunburn (trying to avoid getting that greasy sunscreen on my hands) -- but it wasn't too bad and is fading.

The two preliminary studies were a help. I went with the second one which had a better composition. Lisa O'Connor says that the tree with the pinkish-mauve flowers on the left is called the Queen of Flowers (Lisa joined the group too). It's a very beautiful tree with flowers growing vigorously upwards. This is the season of flowering trees in Trinidad, first the pink and yellow Pouis a few weeks ago, now the Flamboyants and the Queen of Flowers.

The image above is the acrylic sketch that resulted from the session. The second photo is of me at the scene, taken by Peter Sheppard, showing my outdoor set-up, which is actually quite lightweight though it looks like a lot. I wish people wouldn't do it (take photos of me) but what's done is done and there you have it. And it's rather nice to have this as a reminder of the occasion so I'm not complaining.

The only difference for oil is that I use a French easel. It's a lot heavier, more gear to carry, so recently I've been leaning towards acrylic for outdoor work.


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