From Plein Air Painting to Studio Work

There is no Greater Master than Nature when learning to paint. Nothing substitutes the observation and constant training of the eyes when facing natural elements.In fact, learning to paint is learning to see and translate our inner vision. Whenever I´m asked why plein air painting I have longer and shorter answers, but I always state that they are completely different ways of working.
Recently I finished in the studio  the painting I´m posting now. It is a very large work for plein air!
I had already done smaller works with this theme, but for this one I started with compositional studies on the site and brought them to the studio to be developed into the final painting.
Victoria Regia - The Star of the Waters
oil on canvas 180 x 80 cm
Sandra Nunes
On the next post I´ll show the preliminary studies for this work. 
By now, Happy Holidays!
I wish you  a Happy and Blessed New Year!

Sandra Nunes Victoria Regia -
 The Star of the Waters
                                                                                         oil on canvas 180 x 80 cm

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Art and Traveling - part III

Being an artist I´m always pushing myself, exploring new techniques and materials, learning all along the way. Sometimes it is tough leaving the comfort zone and setting new goals.Well, I believe it is not the destination but the journey that counts and I´m having a blast on mine!

On the previous post I mentioned my first contact with Cobra Oils Solvent Free, the water miscible oils from Talens(you can read it here).

Arches Huile

Another material I had the opportunity to test was Arches Huile. This paper was specifically designed for oil painting and I specially liked the texture that keeps the look of Arches watercolor papers. It is archival , high quality, 100%  rag, 300 gsm manufactured with a barrier that absorbs  water or solvents evenly. It is very practical as it is available in  A3, A4 pads and in rolls that are easy to cut in different sizes

In Paris I combined the water miscible oils (Cobra) with Arches Huile. I  loved their practicality for traveling; just attach the paper  temporally to a solid support like a foam board and you are ready to paint immediately. The only attention one must have is  mounting it afterwards on an equally archival support before framing.
This paper is a bit more absorbent than the support I use to prepare for my paintings, that calls for a different approach, maybe more impasto than thin areas...Well I´ll continue exploring plein air painting on this surface  and in the studio as well to test its versatility.
Sandra Nunes painting from the porch
Canal San Martin, Paris
I started this oil sketch at the end of  a rainy afternoon from the porch. Paris rooftops  always attracted my attention and they were specially beautiful under an ever changing grey sky. I just wanted to capture the atmosphere with quick and synthetic brushstrokes only suggesting rather than rendering the rooftops architecture. At this point I called it done and stopped to  watch the gift of a wonderful sunset in Paris! 

Paris Rooftops -Sunset quick sketch
Sandra Nunes
Cobra Oils solvent free on Arches Huile
Read from the beginning Art and Traveling 1
                                         Art and Traveling 2

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Art and Traveling - part II

As I have written in the previous post, besides learning from the Great Masters studying their paintings up close, in galleries and museums, traveling abroad provides the opportunity to work in different locations; it is a great exercise on training to capture the local atmosphere. In addition, there is the possibility of experimenting with new techniques and use of new art materials.

Painting in oils, when travelling, may present some difficulties from brush cleaning, using solvents in inappropriate environments such as hotel rooms, to packing and transporting  wet canvases.. As we know, drying time of oil painting is subject to many variables ( I intend to  talk more about this soon).

I am always in search of the best art supplies to work with, not only the immediate result but permanence is also important. I want my paintings to last for many years after I´m gone.

Well,  I've tested water miscible oil paints some years ago, Winsor and Newton Artisan, Talens H2Oil and Grumbacher Max. None of them satisfied me for one reason or another. The pigment concentration, for example, I didn´t find any brand with the same pigment load of the traditional oils in their professional lines
This year I've learned about  Cobra, the new generation of Royal Talens water miscible oils. They  are manufactured both in professional line (Cobra fine) and student (Cobra study). I tested only the professional line.

Cobra Solvent Free Oils
Sandra Nunes
Painting in Tulleries Garden
I was positively impressed by its quality, and the fact of not using solvent was a good point. At first it behaves differently from traditional oils, but after understanding how to handle it, a new world is opened! No smell!
When I´m travelling all paintings are done alla prima, hit or miss in one session.

Tulleries Garden
Cobra Solvent Free oil on panel
16x22 cm
Sandra Nunes

There are some mediums available to be used for  example when working in layers. I didn´t use any at this time, just a bit of water at the beginning and then just paint.

Sandra Nunes
Painting in Honfleur

Sandra Nunes
Painting in Honfleur

Read Part one here
 To be continued...

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Art and Traveling

I´ve been  posting less here and privileging Facebook. This is a natural way  for the social network's immediacy and real time response. But I still like writing and reading longer posts. So I´ll keep this blog and my website as well for this kind of interactivity, sharing  as often as possible my creative process.

I´m restarting with some highlights from my recent trip to Europe.

Revisiting Rembrandt, this time at Rijksmuseum - Amsterdam
The Night Watch
Rembrandt at Rijksmuseum
The same subject, this time depicted by Frans Hals

The Banquet of the Officers of Saint George Militia
Frans Hals
Studying the Master of brushstrokes at Frans Hals Museum - Haarlem
Traveling  and being  exposed to different cultures, painting outdoors has been a great experience. Besides learning from the great masters, studying their canvases from the original, having  the opportunity to produce my work in different environments facilitates the exercise of a closer look at subtleties when trying to capture the local atmosphere.
Plein Air painting in Amsterdam - Leidseplein

Sandra Nunes

To be continued in the next post...

Continue reading here

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Spring is here- Sunflowers

It is quite understandable  Van Gogh's passion  for sunflowers, this is a beautiful flower when it blooms , lives beautifully  and it can become even more beautiful when dying. Its warm hues turns gray, its leaves twists and turns like a ballet in a circular dance.
I was privileged to live a few days with them and yesterday decided to capture their last minutes of life.

Spring is Here
"sunflowers, fading beauty"
soft pastels on wallis
Sandra Nune

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Urca - Nomand Castle

Those who visit my website and blog for some time now, realize that Urca has been quite often one of my inspirations.Strolling through its 17 streets, cycling or walking is part of my daily life. Sometimes with my bike-easel, pochade or large canvas I stop to register these peaceful moments.
Urca- Normand Castle
Sandra Nunes
oil on canvas 54 x 73 cm

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Santa Teresa - Almirante Alexandino Street

It´s been four years since the district of Santa Teresa lost its charming Tram. Now, the neighborhood is getting ready to receive the new vehicles.
In fact, they have started now to run experimentally, along a short distance.
Little by little I´ve been returning to this collection that gives me so much pleasure to paint. I´ve been working on new compositions, revisiting some other ones and on a rhythm in harmony with Santa Teresa's  I´ll be posting some works here and on my website. Thanks for following this!

Almirante Alexandrino Street
Oil on canvas 120x 90 cm
Sandra Nunes

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Arte de Portas Abertas - Santa Teresa Open Studios

Thanks everyone who attended my show  at Centro Cultural Laurinda Santos Lobo this weekend. It was great meeting old friends and making new ones!
The show runs til August 30th from Tuesday to Sunday - from 10 am to 05:00 pm
If you happen to be in Rio at this time, stop by!

Arte de Portas Abertas
Opening Night
Sandra Nunes

                                      Arte de Portas Abertas
Centro Cultural Laurinda Santos Lobo
Sandra Nunes

 Arte de Portas Abertas
                                                                     Centro Cultural Laurinda Santos Lobo
                                                                                                  Sandra Nunes

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Vitória Regia, Star of the Waters

There´s a Tupi Guarani legend which tells that whenever the moon hid itself behind the horizon, it took its favorite maiden to live in the sky. If the moon fell in love with a girl, the girl would turn into a star. Naia, daughter of an Indian chief and princess of the tribe, was impressed with the story. Then at night when everyone was asleep , she climbed the hills chasing for the moon in the hope that it would see her.But the moon did not seem to notice her and couldn´t hear her sobs of sadness in the distance. One night, Naia saw in the clear waters of a lake the shape of the moon. The poor girl, imagining that the moon had come to pick her up, threw herself into the deep waters of the lake and was never seen again.

The moon, wanted to reward the sacrifice of a young beauty, and decided to turn it into a different star from those that shine in the sky. She transformed her into a "Star of the Waters," which is the Victoria Regia plant. Thus a plant was born whose white fragrant flowers only open at night, and at sunrise look rosy and dies.
Whenever I go to Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden I stop at Frei Leandro´s pond to watch the water lillies. This time the "Star of the Waters" called my attention to paint this horizontal  composition.

Star of the Waters Sandra Nunes
- oil on canvas 40 x 120 cm

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High Summer - Flamboyant in Bloom

Along with the unbearable heat, summer comes exploding in color with the lush blooming of Flamboyants all over the city!
These trees have been calling me to paint for some time now,  and soft pastels seemed to be the right choice to make justice to these flowers vibrant colors bathed by the sun.

High Summer - Flamboyant in Bloom
Sandra Nunes
soft pastels 35 x 61 cm

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Kandinsky: Everything starts from a dot.

On view at Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil  Kandinsky: "Everything starts from a dot."
This show brings to Rio de Janeiro works from the artist who is considered the pioneer of abstract art. Most of the works were selected from the collection of the State Museum in St Petersburg. On display alongside works by his contemporaries and by artists who influenced him, the exhibition is a great opportunity for understanding how his art evolved from figurative to abstract.

Kandinsky and Plein Air Painting

Wassily Kandinsky
The Red Church
oil on wood

Kandinsky was strongly influenced by Claude Monet, after seeing an exhibit of the Haystacks Series. He was impressed by the way Monet used  patches of color that seemed completely independent of the object represented.
Like the French master, Kandinsky worked  in Plein Air(outdoors), sometimes panting the same scene over the changing seasons.

Wassily Kandinsky
The River in Autumn
oil on wood

Wassily Kandinsky
Murnau- Summer Landscape 1909
oil on cardboard

His research on plein air painting went through the period of his life with the German painter Gabriele Münter in France. Both used to work outdoors direct from nature.

Wassily Kandinsky
Gabriele Münter Painting 1903
oil on canvas
(not on display in this show)

Wassily Kandinsky
Murnau- Summer Landscape 1909
oil on cardboard

His interest in form and color led him to construct his colorful way from figurative art to abstraction where the influence of Xamanism, popular art and music is  evident. 

Wassily Kandinsky  Saint George 1911
oil on canvas
His friendship with the composer Arnold Schönberg is displayed through the letters they exchanged:
Kandinsky and Arnold Schönberg letters
Arnold Schönberg set aside in his music the existing rules of harmony in favor of  a new atonal compositional method. Kandinsky wrote in his first letter to the composer:
"You have realized in your work that which I have so long sought from music: The self-sufficient following of its own path, the independent life of individual voices in your compositions, is exactly what I seek to find in painterly form."

" I applied streaks and blobs of colors onto the canvas with a palette knife and made them sing with all the intensity I could"...

"Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul" Wassily Kandinsky, in "Concerning the Spiritual in Art"

Wassily Kandinsky - Composition 1916
oil on canvas

Wassily Kandinsky - On White 1920
oil on canvas

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