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Plein Air Greens

Where do I begin? Choosing a subject in plein air painting is almost always a challenge for me. Winding paths, benches under shady trees, a meditation labyrinth, statues of animals and humans, and even one of St. Francis of Assisi peppered the three-acre span of the Arlington Gardens in Pasadena. Every shade of green - sage, olive, viridian, jadeite, chartreuse, kelly, forest, lime, hunter, phthalo – mixed in the low lying ground covers, intertwining shrubs, flowering plants and overshadowing trees. All things positioned by humans - concrete slabs, broken bricks, odd pillars, statuettes, colorful garden pots, parachuting umbrellas - created anchors that distracted me from the various hues of greens.

With no agenda but to find something in this Mediterranean paradise to inspire a painting, I wandered around observing and sketching everything and anything from retaining walls to central fountains. I settled on the umbrellas, a favored shape, and a small stone statuette of a young boy draped in a loincloth. I have no idea who the boy is or who put him there but the sharp contrast of the red glass globe above his head with the greens that crowned the surrounding space was all I needed.

I would love to hear how others choose their subject in plein air.

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