Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Pochades: practice makes perfect

Peniche on the Seine river 8” X 6” - Oil on panel by Benoit Philippe

In the June 2007 issue of my free newsletter Notes From My French Easel, I looked at the definitions of a “pochade” and came-up with my own definition in 5 points:
  • Small format painting

  • Quickly executed

  • Done on location

  • Capture the essence of the subject without details

  • Records an impression and may be used as reference for a studio painting
Here are 4 practice suggestions when it comes to painting a pochade:

  • Use as big brushes as you can: this advice stands for any canvas size but may seem counter-intuitive for a small format. Avoid the trap of drawing with a double zero sable brush when you should paint. This is your chance to improve your synthetic view, to depict the volumes by interlocking planes of colours rather than resorting to a linear approach.

  • Step back a metre from your pochade from time to time during your painting session to judge the balance of shades, lights, and shadows.

  • Approach pochade painting as an exercise. A more relaxed approach will give you freer brush strokes.

  • Don’t overdo the painting: setting yourself a time limit (let’s say 45 minutes) is a good idea in this respect.
In the September edition of the Newsletter, I will tell you how to make the most of your pochade box.

To see some examples of my pochades, click on the "pochade" tag on the right side of this page.

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