05 October 2012

The Painted Sketch


Mound Prairie Field Sketch, October 02, 2012
A field sketch is a practice of outdoor oil sketching that has been an integral part of landscape painting for decades, and I find it a great one to begin the creative process of choosing what to paint. It is an opportunity to work spontaneously to interpret nature's forms, and to explore composition and color. 

 I have several sizes of outdoor painting boxes - the one shown here small enough to toss in a backpack. The box is deep enough to hold small tubes of paint, and has a little platform for mixing colors. All I need is a couple of brushes, a small can of mineral spirits, a few paper towels, a bottle of water, and I'm good to go! 


This is one of several I painted at various locations during the gorgeous and warm fall weather earlier this week.  I sat on a rock at Mound Prairie, a Minnesota State Natural Area in Houston County, reveling in the beautiful morning and enjoying the tenative songs of my favorite little migrants - the white-throated sparrows.

 You can see the steep prairie hillsides of Mound Prairie from highway 16 - hiking up them is a mix of exhilaration and balance with loose rocks and 60 degree slopes. I actually had difficulty in keeping my backpack from rolling down the hill, but I love it up there. The views are great!  The photo was taken after the sun came around the hillside, but I like this setting best when the foreground is in shadow, and the hill behind is illuminated with light. This sketch may be the start of a big painting - we'll see!  

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