When I first arrived in Maryland I tinted about thirty canvases and boards to have them ready for a week of painting.  I painted more than half of them with a wash of Terra Rosa, my standard underpainting color.  As an experiment, I painted eight or nine with a wash of Permanent Mauve, a color that I have not been using on my palette lately.  It is not one of the colors on my Richard Schmid Color Charts.

View of the Wicomico River, Whitehaven, Maryland

After the first day of painting I found that the Terra Rosa underpainting was too warm and didn’t work as well with the colors of the landscape around me.  After the third day of painting I had used all of the canvases and boards that had been washed with the Permanent Mauve.  Those paintings were more satisfying.

the second wash on the remaining panels

As I became more tuned in to the marshes, I liked the Terra Rosa even less.  It’s great for the farmland surrounding me in New Jersey, but doesn’t make it for me in the Chesapeake Bay area.  After setting up my easel at Broad Creek, I brushed a wash of Permanent Mauve over the remaining Terra Rosa panels and let them dry in the sun on the trunk of my K-car.

En plein air easel setup at Broad Creek

Here is my Broad Creek setup.  This was the last of the canvases that had been originally washed with Permanent Mauve.  It felt as if the marshes painted themselves over this underpainting color.

Close up of painting and palette at Broad Creek

That big glob of cadmium red on my palette remained a big glob throughout the week.  I used this color the least, only a touch every now and then to tone down the greens.  Viridian took the prize for the most used color.  Thanks to the Richard Schmid Color Charts I was able to use it to mix all the various greens as well as some gorgeous purple/lavendars ! with it.  Viridian and Alizarin plus white surprised me.  I had forgotten that the mix can lean toward purple.

With all of these new color experiences in mind, I will experiment with other underpainting wash colors to create various moods and illusions of light.

Painting:  painted en plein air, 5″ x 5″ oil painting on gessoed birch panel washed with dilution of Terra Rosa oil paint. View of the Wicomico River, Whitehaven, Maryland.

The larger palette worked well for pre-mixing my colors during my recent visit to Maryland.

Painting en plein air at Muddy Hole Creek, Tyaskin, MD

I secured the palette to the easel’s palette shelf with bungee cords and clamps.

Palette secured to easel palette shelf

When it started to rain, it was easy to disassemble and pack back into the car.

A minimal setup

After a short shower, I went back to painting, using only a chair and the ground.  Both setups worked well.

Set up along Muddy Hole Road, Tyaskin, Maryland

I set the palette up to be to the right, not directly below my canvas.  Though I scrape the palette after each session, I don’t clean it with turpentine as I used to do.  It is helpful to have hints of other color mixtures still on the palette to judge my new mixtures against both for hue as well as for value, especially if I am trying to mix a color from the previous day.

Broad Creek along Muddy Hole Road, Tyaskin, MD

I was able to mix better colors for the marsh grasses at Broad Creek by comparing them to the colors on the stained palette.  My Richard Schmid Color Charts are indispensable when painting in a new area.

Painting: en plein air oil painting, 6″ x 12″ on canvas.