Saturday, September 27, 2014

PLEIN AIR HOOKING: LESSONS LEARNED

"Waiting for Spring"  9 X 13, Lori LaBerge  2014

It's funny how things can change your direction.  I had planned on some finishing work this week, but a conversation with one of the members of Plein Air Hooking Artists caused me to change my mind.  It was beautiful outside, so why not drop everything and go hook outdoors.

I have been eyeing an old empty flower pot for ages and decided this was the week to hook it and get it out of my system.  Here are a few of the things I am learning through plein air work:

I am loving hooking on an easel.  It allows me to stand back and look at the piece I am working on straight on.  I have found it a little tricky hooking near the middle as a bar that is on the easel in back gets in the way a bit, but I am working on adjusting this.  There is a handy shelf which I throw my wool strips over and also holds my scissors and hook.  I did not mind standing the whole time as much as I thought I would, but ended up retying the hoop higher up on the easel for comfort.


 I have found that my interest is in light and shadow.  I have less interest in color, so am now taking a few liberties with that as I hook.  Sometimes this is necessary due to wool I have brought with me to work with.  It pays to check out your subject before hand and bring colors you think you will need.  Here I am focusing on the values of the pot and the darker shadows at bottom left and mid right of it.

There are more shadows at certain times of day.  Avoid noon when the sun is directly overhead as the shadows lessen significantly.  With outdoor light, there can be a glow to certain objects which can be difficult to portray as wool is flat looking.  It may be helpful to use other materials such as silk or novelty yarn that has a sheen to it.

Focus on values.  Outdoors the value differences your eye actually sees are not as great as those that show up on a photograph.  There are choices as whether to exaggerate the value differences or keep true to what you see.  In this photo you can see how the light is changing over the hooked area so that I was working in half sun and half shade at the time.

I had to take time to adjust the linen on the hoop as I completed the blue on the left and needed to work on the right side.  It would be more convenient to have a larger hoop or perhaps make a flat rectangular frame of decent size to place on the easel.  Don't be afraid to change the scene you hook from what you are actually looking at for composition purposes.  I changed the background to a blue as the dull gray that was actually behind the pot added nothing to the piece and the pot was my focus.

We are always learning from our art.  Never be afraid that something may come out wrong. Every artist experiences frustrations and difficulties in achieving what they want at some point. Let yourself experience some of this, realize it leads to improvement in future artworks and have a great day.

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