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I took a Plein Air painting class from Joshua Been last month and have not posted since. I've been reading all the material he suggested, books, blogs, youtube videos, and I'm super excited to keep this going.

I should explain, I'm both excited and bummed.

I'm excited because I have so much to learn and I want to jump right into the chess game that is Plein Air painting, and learn by doing. But I'm bummed because I realize now how far away I am.

I do look forward to learning and to seeing what I can come up with over the next few years. What my style will end up being, and to see what grabs me the most.

Here are some thoughts rolling around in my head after going through the class, and reading a ton of material over the past several months.

If there is a field of all black sheep except for one, your eye will go to that one white sheep.

The harmony of patterns can be beautiful or awful. We all know the idea that you shouldn't have three trees in a row with the same distance between them and the same size trees etc. This is an obvious rule that we all break constantly in big and small areas of our paintings. We do this without realizing it, we do this with everything. I'm very excited to start being more conscious of how this pattern can be avoided in other areas besides just basic shapes. I'm really looking forward to varying the values, the brush stroke sizes, the colors, the thickness on the brush, everything.

Edges, I'm looking forward to working on using the same variable rules on edges. Playing with the possible benefits of having 1/3 of the edges be crisp, leaving 2/3rds soft. Using the same ratios for dark/light combinations, value families, brush strokes.

The music of the painting. I want to get to the point where I break as few of these concepts as possible in a painting, while keeping it "feeling" right, and use the size of the strokes along with highlights to walk the eyes through several points of interest in a pleasing all-around composition. Using the strokes (color, value, size, thickness) as a way to makes notes on the canvas that walk the viewer with a pleasing rhythm through the piece. To have mastery of those combinations so as to provide a somber, or happy piece. Mostly happy pieces for me please.

I'm very much looking forward to playing a chess game with myself using composition and varying variables to come up with pieces that are pleasing to the viewer in ways that they may not understand initially.

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