Plein Air Color Studies

 Color Study 1 © Beth Cole

Color Study 1 © Beth Cole

It’s a bit brisk in the hinterlands, but I’ve been forging outside to paint as much as possible. My teeth chatter, my fingers are numb and the wind blows my trash bag away, but hey….I’m outside painting and I couldn’t be happier. I was standing on our back deck painting a few weeks ago. It was drizzly and …… well, just kinda miserable. My husband came outside for a bit and said, “I guess you must really like painting, otherwise you’d never be out here.” That pretty much sums it up.

 Color Study 2 © Beth Cole

Color Study 2 © Beth Cole

To be honest, painting outside kicks my patootie each and every time, but I like the challenge. There’s something so complicated about figuring out the scene, narrowing the choices, sketching it all in, and choosing colors, that really resonates with me. It’s hard! And I’m not an expert, but I really like the practice, and I like being outside, even if it is cold.

 Color Study 3 © Beth Cole

Color Study 3 © Beth Cole

The area right around our home has been my subject matter. It’s interesting how different each painting looks, even though I’m looking at very similar scenes each time. The cottonwood trees around the homestead place have been my fascination.

I’ve been trying to get the airy feeling of the trees which are fairly leafless this time of year. I’m also in love with the golden color of the cornfield that borders our back yard. It has been harvested so I can see again. I like that. I have been trying to mix the color I see, it’s harder than it looks.

 Color Study 4 © Beth Cole

Color Study 4 © Beth Cole

I’ve also been experimenting with the time of day and light, shifting the key of the painting up and down regardless of how the light conditions were at the time I was painting. Also hard, but great practice.

When I’m not painting outside, I’m in my studio working on commissions and paintings for next year’s commitments. I was talking with my niece the other day about whether or not a dream job exists, and if it does — I think I have one.

Hope all is well in your corner of the world. Thanks for reading to the end.

—Beth
Soli Deo Gloria