I had the opportunity to visit Giverny, France and pain in Claude Monet's garden. We were permitted to paint early in the morning before the garden was opened to the public and after hours. Even with the threatening rain and actual rain, I painted.
Claude Monet and his fellow impressionists painted outside "en plein air". Plein air painting refers to creating a work of art outside. The desire to paint light and its changing, ephemeral qualities is the challenge for a plein air artist.
As a plein air painter, I paint on site capturing the feeling of time of day and the surroundings. After studying the scene before me and doing a quick sketch to determine the value relationships and movement I want to create in the painting, I work directly on the canvas. Plein air paintings are created quickly because of the changing light and shadows.
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Using a limited palette: warm and cool red, warm and cool yellow, warm and cool blue and white I enjoy the excitement of mixing and combining colors. To me this is the joy of painting. I use the colors to build the shapes of objects in my paintings. Often I will do an underpainting of the composition using the one primary color. Spots of this color will be seen in the finished composition adding life to the painting. The Fauves, Georgia O'Keefe, and Monet have influenced my use of color while I simplify the shapes of objects.