“When an observation takes an instant, immediately followed by the mixing and application of paint, there is no time for thinking about how to make art. But the mature artist has already thought about it -? and has been thinking about it all his working life ?- and so his response becomes intuitive. Through that intuition, he is making unconscious choices that … refine the experience or the expression of the experience. In another person’s hands, the result may be merely a carefully observed study; but in his, it becomes something filled with power and beauty. “
— Michael Chelsey Johnson, Two Approaches to Plein Air Painting
The past week I’ve had the joy of painting on location along with Michael Chelsey Johnson, Lyn Asselta, and a handful of other painters enjoying an art retreat on Skye (I haven’t seen any social media posts from them about it which is why I haven’t given their names). We’ve been to some of the iconic postcard places and others where the only other company are the sheep. It’s been so inspiring seeing everyone’s responses to the landscape, including lots of conversations about greens!
Michael has done some demos and seeing his colours and layering (using gouache) has made me realise how intuitive warm/cool is to him, whereas I tend (read: invariably) to forget as I get seduced, yet again, by pattern and colour. I’ve found myself wondering if all the days of “soft northern light” aggravate this, or am I reaching for an excuse?
• From Michael’s blog: Scotland Plein Air Painting Retreat – Interim Report 4