1. Effects of changing light
When painting en plein air, you have to take the movement of the sun into account. As the sun moves across the sky, it can greatly affect how a landscape looks. Take a photo from the same spot every hour throughout the day then look back at these photos and you’ll see just how much the passing sun affects the lighting of the landscape. Capturing an outdoor landscape can be hard when light gradually changes throughout the day. Even though capturing the changing effects of light can be challenging, it isn’t impossible.
2. Where to start
When it comes to actually doing your plein air painting, a good idea is to get the features of the painting done first. In other words, concentrate on the make-up of the painting by creating the shapes of the landscape’s different features. Get the larger elements of the painting done first, then you can focus on the finer details. You could even get the larger details and shapes done on one day and come back another day to get the light effects done.
3. How to capture changing light
If you take your time with your painting and spend a full day working on it, you may well end up with a painting that shows different effects of light from throughout the day. That’s fine if you’re aiming for a painting that showcases the different effects of light on a landscape, but if you want to capture the landscape at a precise time, you have to do things a bit differently. A good way to approach this is to take photos of the landscape. You can then work from these photos, using them as a reference guide to see how light affects different features of the landscape.
4. Consider a series of paintings
Instead of capturing light’s effects at a single moment, you could try doing a series of paintings, each one showcasing the effects of light on the landscape at a different time of the day. Doing this can make you appreciate just how much the light effects a landscape throughout the day. You could do a painting in the morning, one at midday then one in the early evening, for example. You don’t necessarily have to do a series of paintings of exactly the same view; you could still showcase the changing effects of light throughout the day even if you don’t do paintings of the exact same view.
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