Watercolor Plein Air to Studio Oils

As a faithful oil painter, I admit to seeing other painting media. Actually, it’s been going on for a while.

I’ve enjoyed painting quick watercolor pieces on site since studying abroad in the summer of ‘97. Watercolor has its unique challenges, but I’ve always enjoyed it for it’s immediacy and the ease of traveling with it.

Plus, I can paint quickly.

Lately, spending 2 - 3 hours working on an oil painting out in the field simply doesn’t fit in my life. And that’s ok, as I’ve filled this artistic void by filling sketchbooks with small watercolor paintings. Watercolor, gouache, and casein paint, actually, as the combination of both watercolor and opaque applications of paint better corresponds to my palette of oil colors.

Here’s a selection of the paintings, all completed in the spring of 2019 at a small wetland area near my home.

The practice of painting these out in the field has been invaluable to my studio work - as I’ve been exploring the theme of abstracted wetland scenes for the past year or so.

Going from plein air watercolors to studio oils has been such a rewarding process. I’ve never felt that working from small, plein air oil paintings to complete larger studio paintings was a very satisfying experience. It became an exercise in enlarging my work, rather than creating new work. My sketchbooks of watercolor paintings inspire and inform - rather than dictate - my studio work.

Red Flora,  14” x 24”, oil on panel, 2019.

Red Flora, 14” x 24”, oil on panel, 2019.

Riverwalk,  12” x 24”, oil on panel, 2019.

Riverwalk, 12” x 24”, oil on panel, 2019.

Works in progress in the studio.

Works in progress in the studio.

Plein Air through Europe

During the summer of 2018, I was fortunate to spend a month traveling through Europe with my family. Starting in the UK, we made our way through The Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. Beyond spending time with my family, the food, driving a stick shift over the Alps, the greatest joy was carving out time to paint. I’ve always enjoyed taking in new locations from the view behind an easel.

The gallery below chronicles our trip from the English countryside to the streets of Rome. Enjoy!