Saturday, October 08, 2016

:: A very good day ::

Earlier this week my friend Barbara and I packed up our painting gear and went to a lovely location in hopes of getting some plein air work done. We both thought this was a perfect location with views in every direction.

Looking east you see a couple of apple trees that still had plenty of apples on the tree … and on the ground. Yes, they made a great snack.
To the north were some huge fir trees.
East were some mature aspen trees as well as some young less developed trees.
And then to the south were the majestic Olympics Mountains and some grazing milk cows.
Dungeness Cows © Nancy Van Blaricom
Dungeness Valley Cows, 8" x 10" Oil on Canvas ~ ©Nancy Van Blaricom
I haven't done many plein air paintings but as I started to set up I realized I had forgotten a few things.  I forgot my phone, that meant no in progress photos.  I also forgot to bring a bottle of water, that alone makes a person thirsty, lol. And lastly I forgot my tripod mount … what attaches my easel to my tripod.

All was not lost. Fortunately I had a small blanket that I carry in my car to set anything on that might soil the carpet in the car.  I spread it out on the ground between the apple trees and had a great view of the cows and mountains.   It was a rather perfect place to be and sitting on the blanket instead of standing was just fine.

As I mixed my paint I tried to remind myself of all the steps I needed to take ...  things I really wanted to remember that would help this be a successful painting day.  I took my time.
  • Do a few thumbnail sketches to make sure I would be happy with my design.
  • Using a neutral paint color to sketch my design on the canvas.
  • Block in my darks ... shadows. Once that is working add some light and color.
  • Try to get my values right.

Anyway, you get the idea .. I didn't hurry when working on my canvas.  

After two hours my I felt very happy with what I had accomplish.
I think I am getting the hang of this stuff.

Once home I gave the cows a little more detail since they were quite far away while I was painting.

Wahoo … I'm calling this one a success ! What do you think?


  1. How beautiful this painting is!!!!

  2. Donna thank you so much.
    I really had a wonderful time painting this. I hope to do many more… I think it could be addictive.

  3. Nice painting, Nancy! I haven't been out painting en plein air in so long, I'm afraid I would leave most of the essentials behind. You improvised well and have a good painting, too.

    I thought of you when we turned west into the Strait of Juan de Fuca last month and went in to Sequim Harbor to check out John Wayne marina. Are you far from there? It was a calm day and the water in the strait was flat (just the way I like it). Earlier that week, we'd been on the anchor near Port Townsend when a big wind storm came in, with winds from the south at 30 kt and wind waves at 4-5 feet. Eek. We lifted the anchor and pulled into the marina at Port Townsend safely, but it was a very rough ride. I lost many dishes and cups that day. Hope you're enjoying your new location. Sounds like you're enjoying new landscapes there.

    1. Thanks for dropping by Katherine. I was wondering how you were just recently. Nice to hear from you. We are not very far from John Wayne Marina at all, maybe 5 miles.

      Its always a gamble, isn't it, when you are on the water. It can look as calm and peaceful out as can be and then next thing you know things are going topsy turvy. Sorry to hear about the loss of you dishes ... but glad you are ok. Dishes can be replaced.

      We sold our boat just prior to moving here. We talk about a smaller boat to fish from and maybe be able to spend a night on, but nothing definite as of yet. As you well know, " There is nothing, absolutely nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats"

      Take care ....