Thursday, 31 October 2013

Pastel, Plein air painting in Mountains and at the Beach-- Costa Rica this January

It hardly seems like it's been almost a year since our first trip to Costa Rica. We had so many new experiences painting in new territory.
This year, Martine and I decided to do things a little differently. Partly because I want to know the country better, and have many new things to paint. I've been painting mountains a little bit the last few years. The Cinque Terre in 2012, and on hiking trips to the Adirondacks-not with a group I am teaching, but just when I've been there hiking. .
I've been outfitting my hatchback with easel and art materials, and can pull up anywhere I see fit and make a little piece. Even if it's raining, I just huddle in the under the hatch.
So I am getting some experience there under my belt, and look forward to the very lush hillsides of Costa Ricas Mountains.
We'll spend 4 days there, then hop over to the Osa, this time we're renting a house with our own chef, and it's on the Gulfo Dulce, so we don't have to worry about rip tides. Here's a place to see loads of animals in their natural habitat. Last year we took a boat tour, and saw literally hundreds of dolphins. We also swam amongst many gorgeous tropical fish. Now there's different subject matter for you!

   If you are interested in joining Martine and I in Costa Rica this Winter, Jan. 10-19/2014 check it out at:


Here's some samples of my work from Costa Rica from last winter,....enjoy,.......remember less than an hour for each piece this is plein air....

 This is called the Welcome Plant, and is the most beautiful shades of red. I tried to capture the rich reds, and not sure I really got them. Love red though!

 This painting was done as part of our sunset challenge. We'd go to this hill right on the ocean, about 30 minutes before the sun set. We'd set up our compositions, then observe the changing colours as the red orb travelled to the other side. Quite a show. I was more transfixed here on the light on this ordinary weed, and it's gorgeous reach out to that orb. The sky and water merged in a lovely smudge of pastel colours.

 I thought this piece would be good to include for those stymied by a sea of green. You have to be creative, use your imagination, contrast light and colour, and stay away from that pesky detail. I get mys students to focus on compositional elements instead of getting caught up in detail or distractions. 

 This is a round room, at the entrance to Casa Grande, at Finca Exotica. My first stroll into the dining area, I knew I wanted to capture the light on these cushions. Isn't it inviting?

I've already mentioned getting creative. In this piece, I played with composition, a variety of rich and intense colours, and kind of a different dimension of picture plane. Experimenting with unusual picture planes can make for dynamics within your painting. I enjoyed all the different fruits in the southern hemisphere.

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