Clark Bending

I paint my artwork in oil, alkyd oil, acrylic and gouache paints. I paint both in studio and en plein aire. Studio work is about 20% of my work; the balance is en plein aire.
Plein aire painting is very challenging. The weather elements change constantly. Wind, rain, snow, and the light changes the scene constantly. Light, of course, affects how we see. Reflected light causes unexpected color. Things are not necessarily as we percieve. Plein aire painting has taught me lessons in perception versus what we percieve as reality. The grass is not always green; the sky is not always blue and so forth.

In capturing a plein aire scene, I will make a small value study sketch on a 4 x 6" index card (or any other small paper handy). I try to capture shapes, forms, masses, and light or dark values. I also try to indicate movement from wind, waters, trees, clouds, whatever is present. Lastly, I will interpret or adjust color to reflect my feelings on the subject and not necessarily what others percieve.I find limitless subjects and opportunities all around.

The Chicago area is loaded with landscapes, street scenes, and people. Plein aire painting makes most of my work alla prima, all in one session. I have painted numerous subjects this way. Just in case some disaster occurs, I will, if feasible, take reference photos. Also I travel extensively on plein aire outings, I do many photos for later studio work.

Finally, as we live in a troubled world, I find ideas for painting coming to me about politics, diplomacy, war, terrorism, civil rights and other subjects. These subjects are the basis of most of my studio work.

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