I've painted hundreds of plein air pieces. Some much more successful than others. One thing I, and many other artists, do is to use the plein air painting as reference and inspiration for a larger studio painting. I have found that it helps to do this quickly after painting the original outdoor piece so that the excitement and freshness carry over into the studio work.
Normally I will paint a larger piece from the original, but this time I have reversed the process. This past weekend I painted near a cliff face in very windy conditions. And I really like the finished plein air work. BUT, I was wanting to paint larger than the standard 16" x 20" that I normally use, so I used a 24" x 18" wooden panel previously used with canvas glued to one side. I ripped the canvas off the board and took part of the laminate with it. So I flipped it over and painted on the rougher backside. Not only was it more rough, but it also had a defect, sort of a split, in the wooden surface. I had primed over everything a couple of years ago when I first used it, so it was okay to paint on just not smooth or pretty to look at.
I like my effort, and would have probably just worked on it more in the studio to bring it to a nice level of finish, and to make it a good painting. That is the ultimate goal, eh? But that split messed it up. So now, I have started a 20" x 16" of the same scene. Going smaller than the original. There are other things I need to work on in this version also. For one is the island in the lake below the cliff. In the original it gets lost and confused in the branches of the tree. I need to clarify this. In fact, I'm contemplating having the cliff overlook land and not the lake for this version.
So there you are. My plans for this little project. Who know how it will turn out. But at least I have a blurry roadmap to find my way. I have started a block in of the smaller painting which I'm showing here along with the original.
Painted this small one for next month's Virtual Paintout. Five years ago, February 2009, I started my small project using Google Street View to gather artists virtually in one area each month. The artists choose what they want to draw or paint and send it to me. I then post their artwork for all to see.
61 different locations, hundreds of participating artists, and over 4,000 submissions.
G Street Houses
5" x 7", oil on linen panel, palette knife
I know I should exercise. I'm not getting any younger. It would be good for my body and my mind. I know this; yet I don't usually do it on purpose. I find that I do exercise my brain and artistic ability every day though. In some way. Whether painting, drawing, or reading about artists or techniques. And studying other artists works in the hopes of expanding my own painting vocabulary. The drawing you see here is my exercise for the day. Well, not my only exercise, I do have a normal physically active Wednesday ahead of me. But I get a similar endorphin rush from both types of activity.
So, here's to Wednesday. May you also work your mind and your body today. Push yourself past your comfort zone and expand your own vocabulary.
Painting upside down. Painted from a photo on my phone this morning. The scene is from my backyard a couple of weeks ago when we had a little snow. In the winter the morning light rakes across the yard and seems to take up residence in the small apple tree next to the property line. Some days you could swear that the light was coming from within the tree itself. Painting from the small picture on my phone makes for a more simplified painting, but to add to the abstract quality of the initial paint I turned the pic upside down to get at the heart of the shapes. I painted this on a 16" x 20" canvas that had been toned dark brown to cover an old sketch. The first pic shows what the painting looked like before I flipped it over. The next pic is the painting right-side up. And the third was after a few highlights were placed.
Happy New Year! I painted outside today, which is always a good thing. The paintings don't always turn out good, but the act of doing it is invaluable. I'm pretty happy with this one. Pushing myself by painting in an unfamiliar way today.
24" x 24", oil on wood panel, plein air