Monica Achberger’s Golden Hour


Once the flowers are in full bloom the area becomes a crazy tourist attraction. At first, most people are respectful of your space, as you get the canvas blocked in and your image evolves it is natural for people to be curious and the questions, comments and statements start flying.

Traveling extensively the past few summers, I’ve missed the local sun flowers traditionally blooming at the end of July. This year I was determined to catch the Natorp’s sun flower field in full bloom on the corner of Irwin Simpson Road and Snider Road in Mason, OH.

Arriving in the early morning the sun flower field was bathed in sunlight and literally breathtaking. It was an incredible challenge to try to capture something so iconic and romantically beautiful. The scene is so incredibly filled with the golden yellow of sunflowers blooming that panic sets in, not sure if I have even brought enough yellow paint.

Where to start?  As always, I begin by drawing the scene as this is the fundamental backbone of painting. The sketch gives structure, develops composition and works out design problems before committing to paint on canvas.  Drawing with the paint, I remind myself every day to keep developing my drawing skills especially when working on the figure.

These interruptions can be a distraction to your thoughts and painting process. When this happens, it is easy to lose focus and the painting can become disjointed.  However, this is inevitable and is part of the plein air experience. I remind myself to stay focused and always try to be an ambassador for plein air.

Monica Achberger, Golden Hour, 10x20, oil on wood
Golden Hour, Monica Achberger

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