‘PLEIN AIR PAINTING’ : LYN NORTHAMWritten by Brenda Durham
In an amazingly rich talk Lyn inspired us with her enthusiasm for ‘plein air’ painting. Her heroes are Monet, John Singer Sargent, Ken Howard, Bernard Vogel and Fred Cuming.
Lyn emphasized the importance of experiencing the location with all 5 senses; to interpret the atmosphere rather than copy it. The painter must paint what he sees and not what he knows and remember that ‘less is more’.
Try to capture the light and subtleties of shadows and colour. Diminish details and look for big abstract shapes and focal points.The best times for ‘plein air’ painting are early morning and late afternoon. Winter has the best energy.
Lyn gave us guidelines for how to begin :
- is the painting about the sky or the land ?
- do a slightly bigger value sketch to set out the darks, mid – tones and lights
- peg the shadows first and don’t change them
- simplify shapes
- work from thin to thick paint
- look for negative shapes
- choose a control measure for proportion
- counter change dark against light
- use aerial perspective e.g. light sky and mountains.
We enjoyed seeing Lyn’s numerous sketch books. She draws wherever she goes and records information and impressions. Lyn encouraged us all to try ‘plein air’ painting but reminded us that it’s not for the faint – hearted.
Thank you Lyn for an exhilarating evening.