Monday, July 23, 2012

Plein Air Sketch

Sgraffito, and Reflected Light

Here's an oil plein-air sketch from two weeks ago. Several friends and I had a rendezvous at the former home of Chauncey Ryder, in Wilton, New Hampshire. My first post, on 29 February this year, was a birthday salute to Chauncey, a long-time favorite artist. 

I posted the grisaille for this 8x12" canvas on Facebook at the time, but I've only now got around to working on the canvas in color.

Here's a detail, followed by the whole oil sketch. I've put in the detail as a reminder of the effects that you can get with sgraffito

In this case, the canvas had been toned with transparent red oxide (Old Holland). This yields an orange surface, often ideal for landscapes in sunlight. 

This time, however, I was interested in the reflected light, from the sunny lawn, that was bouncing up onto the shadowed front of the house. Each of the bottom edges of the clapboards received the thinnest sliver of warm light.

If you look carefully, you will see how a few scratches with the wrong-end of the brush have exposed bits of the orange under-color. Although no attempt has been made to put in all the clapboards, the general effect of bouncing light is nonetheless suggested.

The same technique can be valuable in shadow masses and among grasses in pastures and meadows. 

Try it!


  1. Splendid effect! I love the play of warm and cool in this...

  2. You are truly a master of light. I love studying your beautiful paintings and am glad I discovered your blog. Thank you for sharing!!