Is May the month with the most art challenges? I think #mermay has been around the longest, but now there is also #myticmay and #misadventuremay… I’m skipping all of them, as I need to rest a bit from the challenge I undertook during April: Plein Airpril!
As the name suggests, Plein Airpril is all about completing a plein-air painting each day during April. It’s initiated by Warrior Painters and there are prizes to be won for both traditional and digital painters. You don’t have to do all your paintings outside from life (which is the definition of working en plein air), but it is encouraged. I did a mix of both painting from life and from photographs (I shot myself).
I hadn’t planned to join this challenge but when I saw Audra Auclair joining on Instagram (and had read there were prizes involved), I decided I wanted to do this too. I really enjoyed painting studies earlier this year and this could be just the thing I needed to pick that up again.
I hoped I wouldn’t regret this hasty descision; April looked already like it was going to be a busy month. It sure has been a hassle to make time for the paintings from time to time. Luckily I could finish a few in advance so I didn’t have to paint during my vacation in the last week of April. But overall, I’m glad I did it! I tried a lot of new brushes in Procreate, and I think I found a new favorite. I also learned that when painting form life, you don’t have to get the colours exactly right to achieve likeliness, as long as the relationship between them is accurate. Technically speaking: if the values are right and the colour temperature is in the ballpark, you can increase contrast or saturation, it will still look ‘right’.
I experimented with simplifying shapes too, especially in noisy backgrounds. Sometimes it looked nice and stylized, othertimes like the blur from a photograph with a shallow depth of field – and sometimes it didn’t work. But that’s what experimenting is for!
If you want to see all the paintings, go to my Instagram page where they were posted daily in order!