Plein Air City Painting Workshop - Day Two and Three

Sunday, July 11, 2010
From Aaron Miller | Illustrator | Designer

Day Two:
We spent day two at the busy, busy six corners area of Wicker Park. The area has a six corners intersection, an el stop and a park with the block. Very much a deep end of the pool to paint in environment wise. Scott did a demo across from the park painting down a shady street. After the demo and a quick bite to eat at Sultan's Market for some falafel sandwiches I choose a spot under the el tracks in a very high traffic area. If you are not used to painting in public this can be very overwhelming. I quickly became more involved with trying to capture the scene in front of me rather than worry about people looking over my shoulder. I scrapped down 3-4 panels though that day. It was all about the learning process for me but Scott kept wanting me to keep my failed attempts.

Day Three:
We met at another six corners location at Grand, Milwaukee and Halsted. People from Chicago might know that's where the Funky Budah Lounge is. After the mornings demo I found a great spot near some overhead train tracks and an unexpected view of the Sears (Willis) Tower. After three days I was able to put everything into action and I managed to not scrape this one down.
There are some interesting things that you pretty much do for any painting you approach but that are really key for painting on location. Really locking in your composition really is key. Once you start painting the world keeps spinning and the light moves. So, once you've locked some stuff in you can still capture the original scene. And repeating patterns is really key as well. We're talking about things that keep moving, like people and cars. But, they will keep showing in in the spots you want them to! The car for instance is 2-3 cars over the course of the painting. I was bummed the first time it moved and I only had a few details painted. But 10 minutes later another similar car took it's place, and another an hour later.

Painting in the city is fun but its one of the most challenging things as a painter you can do.

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