Here are a few plein air landscape paintings from the last couple of autumns and winters. I often paint small plein air sketches that don’t end up being part of a large enough group to merit a blog post, so I figured I’d put them all in this one. Most are from around Zagreb, but a few are from recent trips to Bordeaux and London.
Mirogoj. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.
Nativity Play, Zagreb. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.
Some of these are unfinished, including the two below where I was driven away by the pouring rain in Bordeaux.
Horses on the Monument aux Girondins. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.
Porte Saint-Éloy, Bordeaux. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.
Bordeaux Sunset. 17 x 30 cm, oil on panel.
White Garden, The Rookery, Streatham. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.
Battersea Park Pagoda. 30 x 20 cm, oil on panel.
Billboard in the Rain, Zagreb. 30 x 20 cm, oil on panel.
Afternoon Shadows, Ribnjak. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel
Here are some recent plein air landscape paintings from Zagreb and the surrounding countryside.
Tina Practicing a Speech. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.
Modern Sculpture, Ribnjak Park. 20 x 15 cm, oil on panel.
Garden, Zvijezda. 35 x 25 cm, oil on panel.
While the Croatian coast is rightfully famous for it’s beauty, the countryside inland has a lot of charm to it as well. It’s a very peaceful place to work since there is a real emptiness in some areas. Often I’ll paint on the side of a road and no more than one car or tractor will pass during the hours it takes me to finish a painting.
Šišinec. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.
Chapel near Brkiševina. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.
Below is an updated image of a large plein air painting of a path in Maksimir park. It’s for an even larger studio painting that was requested by a gallery I work with.
Path in Maksimir (updated) 60 x 80 cm, oil on linen.
Since the days are so short here in Zagreb (and I’m losing my mornings to language classes), I’ve been trying my hand at plein air nocturnes lately.
The Bar at Zvijezda (2011). 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.
Last winter I tried one nocturne of the small bar around the corner from my house. The idea was to sketch the composition in pencil and then begin the lay-in on site. However, for the bulk of the work I had the painting elsewhere and, in the evenings, I would stop and try to memorized the view and then paint later from memory. It was like sight-sizing from a block away. The idea was based on the quote by Degas about memory drawing:
“If I were to open an academy I would have a five-story building. The model would pose on the ground floor with the first-year students. The most advanced students would work on the fifth floor.”
This year I’m more prepared. These new clip-on LED lights work very well, and have a much cooler light than the ones you could buy, years ago, when I last tried plein air landscape painting at night. The brand I’m using is Mighty Bright from Santa Barbara, CA and I have the two pronged ones they make for orchestra conductors. (Edit: As Jerry Campbell commented, these lights can be slightly blue. I also found myself compensating to knock down the oranges. Pushing the light right up to the canvas warms it up a bit, but if anyone one has a suggestion for a more neutral plein-air-at-night lighting solution, I’d love to hear it).
My set-up for nocturnes.
A second set of lights would be great as I don’t get enough light consistently across the panels and have to move the light to where I’m working.
Painting in the snow at night can be really cold. I wrote a post last winter on keeping warm, which you can read here.
Zagreb Cathedral Nocturne #1. 35 x 25 cm, oil on panel.
Zagreb Cathedral Nocturne #2. 30 x 20, oil on panel (unfinished).
The Central Train Station at Night. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.
More to come. In the meantime, here are a couple more from the heavy snows we’ve had this month in Zagreb.