I went out with the SD Plein Air Painters this past Saturday - it was quite nice out again this weekend! Almost too hot for jeans (in January). We painted the penasquitos lagoon at hide tide, and my objective was to concentrate on the values of the plains: the sky, the ground, the water and the trees. One should see 5 values, some are closer than others but my aim is in this order of light to dark: Sky, water, reeds, background, Trees. I have been practicing with black and white studies in the studio all week - so I set out to do the same in plein air, being very deliberate about my sketch and not as picky about the color. It's always better and at the same time harder to paint outdoors. I took a workshop once where the teacher said it's like camping vs staying home with all the comforts. You have to pack all the gear, and you have to set up, break it down at the end and in between your brushes fall into the dirt, your turp spills, your coffee cools. I could go on! But in return for this suffering, just like everything you cook at a campsite tastes better, all the smells and sounds and sites you see outside are more intense, and more informing than a photograph.