Friday, March 30, 2012

Early Spring in Bayfield, CO - plein air, pastel

Yesterday's paint-out with the 4CPAP group at LaPlatte lake...

Early Spring Reflections - plein air
12x12 inches  - pastel on black cardstock
© 2012, S.Johnson
It is finally starting to feel like spring here in the Durango area:  temps are up in the 60's, grasses are starting to green up, and it just feels great to be outside.  The Four Corners group met at LaPlatte lake in nearby Bayfield to paint.

Last year at this location, I painted a small stream that ran by the lake.  This is a wider creek that also runs through the property, about 30 feet from that stream.  I was drawn to the reflections from the various groups of trees, all devoid of foliage still, as well as the shore of the creek itself.
On location
The hardest part was dealing with the various layers of middle ground trees with the receding layers of cottonwoods - at the critique, folks had good suggestions for improving the painting, so I reworked it a bit.  Looks better, and I always find it interesting (and a tad frustrating) how things can just "get away" from you while painting, and it's not until you think you're finished, and view the painting on its easel 20 feet away, that those issues become glaring, and you wonder exactly how that happened during the process.

Anyway, here are a few "action" photos of other members painting:

Helen, painting the same creek on the other side of the fence

Stephen, painting a different section of the same creek

Debra, on the other side of the property, also painting the creek

Mary, painting near a corral of friendly horses, just out of view

Tomorrow, I'm going out with the informal Friday plein air group, to a new location (for me) on Florida Mesa.  Plein air season has begun in earnest!


  1. Based on your photos, I'd say you did a great job of capturing the feel of the place. Nice job on the water and reflections.

  2. Looks like a lovely spot!
    Beautiful painting - great composition - love the reflections.

  3. Must be great to be out in the fresh air and I'm glad to see some parts of the country are having a real Spring!

  4. Thanks, Dan. It was a tricky thing, those dark bare creekside trees. But yeah, it actually does look like that now.

    Hi Debbie - yes, it was a nice spot; lots to choose from, as you can see. I probably like it better when the cottonwoods are leafed out, but that's mostly because it's just easier to paint ;). Thanks so much for your comments!

    Hi Helen - I am so happy to be able to get out and start painting outdoors again. I love springtime!

  5. Absolutely beautiful Sonya! I LOVE the color of the tree branches against the sky. :)) And it's so cool to see you and your group of friends out. Looks like a little bit of heaven to me. :)

  6. Aw, thanks so much, Crystal! I honestly never really know how those sorts of things will read to a viewer - despite being a small thing, they can be a bit tricky to pull off. But, I can say that having a group to paint with makes the whole experience much more fun :).


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