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Fletcher Park morning- A Plein Air painting by Tesh Parekh

Fletcher Park Morning. Watercolor. 12×16. Plein Air.

Local Color gallery of Raleigh hosts their annual paint out in April every year. I have participated for last three years. The first year was a learning experience as I was absolutely new to the plein air painting! My tools and techniques have completely changed since. I normally complete two paintings during the paint out: a watercolor in the morning and an oil in th

e afternoon. This year, I wasn’t sure if I could participate: I was scheduled to photograph a Bar Mitzvah party on the same day. Fortunately, the paint out location and the Bar Mitzvah party were both on the Glenwood Avenue. So, I decided to do a watercolor in the morning. In the ideal world, you get to paint what you want, where you want and paint till you are happy with the final result. Not so in the real world!

I had my watercolor paper stamped by the gallery, first thing in the morning. I had the opportunity yo meet many artists who are member of the gallery. Mary Beth Owen-Zdanski informed me that she had bought my watercolor from last year. Thank you, Mary Beth! She is a Ceramic Artist. You can see her work here:

I decided to paint at the Fred Fletcher park. This is a beautiful park. If you have not visited it, I highly recommend it. I had done another plein air watercolor their earlier- “Homework on the grass”. Although I love to paint cityscapes, I had to keep things simple today. I did the painting on a 12×16 Saunders Rough paper. I used Holbein paints. This was my first plein air painting using both. I like how the Holbein paints granulate. It creates interesting textural effects. As for the Saunders, it may take some practice to master it. I am learning about painting tools used by Joseph Zbukvic. I absolutely love his style and studying his work has certainly helped me improve my plain air work.

I had less than 90 minutes to start and finish the painting. I frequently paint live at Weddings and Events ( and hence used to paint in short amount of time. My process is the same: analyze the scene, start with a good drawing and washes, develop the tones and then complete the small details and final touches. I would have loved to paint little longer. However, I was happy with the final result.

Will it win anything? Watercolors have a bad track record locally! Especially, mine! My next competitions are at the North Hills mall and in Kinston. May be spirits of Andrew Wyeth, Sargent and Homer will descend upon me and teach me how to paint in watercolors…

– Tesh Parekh

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