Sun and Shade

GVS_tree_pleinairFebruary is a mixed bag of grey days and sunny ones, and to be honest it’s hard to decide which ones are better for painting. A sunny day, of course, is the most alluring – and the most enjoyable to be out in. The shadows and the highlights are ever tempting you to paint them, and everything looks alive and beautiful. But then you set up your easel, wrestle with your umbrella to get your canvas in the shade – or to shade your eyes from the glaring sun you’ve positioned yourself right in the way of – and have to paint as fast as you can to catch that tilt of the sun and shadows before they disappear.

On a cloudy day, however, you’ve got as long as you want. The first painting here was done on a bright, but cloudy, day. I didn’t have to worry about fickle shadows – the sun behind the clouds cast a steady light on the tree that didn’t change dramatically in the hour or so I was painting, so I was able to take my time and really capture the tree as it first caught my eye. But, of course, it was chilly and a little wet, and not very pleasant to be out in. Ah, well.



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