Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Painting en Plein Air: Resolving the Landscape, Thomas Kegler

Painting en Plein Air: Resolving the Landscape, Thomas Kegler
Thomas Kegler is a Western New York State painter and senior member of the Hudson River Fellowship who was the subject of a Lines and Colors post in October of this year.

In addition to the instructional materials and short videos on his website, Kegler demonstrates his painting techniques in an “instructional documentary” titled Painting en Plein Air: Resolving the Landscape.

This is an hour long video, professionally produced by Black Horse Videography that follows Kegler through a two day location session in which he paints the aged maple tree in the composition shown above, bottom.

The artist provided me with a review copy.

One of the flaws I frequently find in a number of the painting instruction videos I’ve seen is the tendency to rush, fast forward and compress time too aggressively, as though those with a desire to watch an instructional art video would somehow be bored by watching someone paint.

This is not the case here, and in fact, I was tempted at first to think that the video started too slowly. I soon realized it was in keeping with one of Kegler’s major suggestions to those painting outdoors: to slow down— look, sketch and draw and immerse yourself in nature before rushing to begin painting.

The video follows Kegler’s process from initial thumbnail sketch to prepared drawing to the stages of painting on location, throughout which the artist comments and describes his working methods as well as his philosophical approach to painting technique.

Even though there are aspects of Kegler’s process that I would personally have trouble adopting, such as the use of an armature for composition and a relatively broad palette of colors, I found the entire process informative.

I’m perhaps not the most experienced of plein air painters myself, but I was introduced to several points of technique with which I was previously unfamiliar, such as drawing a preliminary sketch on the canvas by using a rubber tipped shaper tool to pull lines out of a wet imprimatura, (also used to make marks and adjustments within the actual painting at later stages), as well as the approach of making slightly tinted grays by starting with a neutral tube gray and adding touches of color rather than mixing down to a chromatic gray from complementary colors.

Kegler also demonstrates his approach to applying an overall glaze of warm color to a landscape in its later stages using Oleogel medium, pulling the glaze away from selected passages.

The instruction is aimed at experienced painters rather than beginners, and is a good foray into a naturalistic but painterly approach to landscape

Painting en Plein Air: Resolving the Landscape is available from the artist’s website as both a digital download and a physical DVD.

There is a brief trailer on the wesbsite and YouTube, and another, preliminary trailer on Vimeo.

There is also a review on Gurney Journey.

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