There is only one true thing:
instantly paint what you see.
Previously, I posted a bunch of photos I took at the King Gillette Ranch and the Santa Monica Mountains. This is what I did after the hike and my little picnic lunch.
I really like the refurbished building that was the old 1924 horse stables, so I found a spot behind it, with a nice view, and no one was around.
First I did a little field sketch to see what I wanted in the picture. All the dimensions and perspective were off, but it gave me a bit of a clue on how to go forward on my sanded pastel paper. (Uart paper on board.)
You can see, below, the Uart paper is sort of pale, sand color. I used a sanguine colored pastel pencil, or conte to start loosely sketching in my composition. Then I went in with the watercolor underpainting, trying to think ahead what colors would go over the top and how they colors would react to each other.
My tripod broke, which is what I usually screw my pastel box into (there is a little easel attachment,) but thankfully there were a couple of picnic tables, so I still had a way to set up!
Painting outdoors is a distillation of time,
a capturing of the essence of existence during a specific
period in the artist's experience.
I love having the watercolor underpainting to work off of, with the pastels. I like letting the color show through, but sometimes it's not in the cards, and you end up covering all the watercolor. Nice not to start with a a white/beige sheet of paper though!
While waiting for the watercolor to dry, I did a little watercolor sketch of the same subject, trying out some different colors.
The clouds started to roll in. So then, the shadows were totally different, at that point, and the cool air was keeping the underpainting from drying. I went ahead and cleaned up.
I had a photo with the shadows from earlier in the day, so I knew I would resolve the painting later, with pastels, back in the studio. (Or at least try to!)
I don't often work in plain air (outside) but I do enjoy it! I don't know if I'm all that crazy about my final work outdoors but it makes for a great recording of a day and time.