Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Plein Air Afternoon

I've been wanting to do more plein air work recently, so today I took the afternoon and set out to find a suitable location to paint. It didn't take long to find a good spot. With the leaves starting to change to their autumn colors, I parked the truck and lugged my easel to an overgrown field in Goddard State Park. The warm sun felt good as I set up my easel and a young deer wandered by as if curious about my intentions.
It's funny how quickly time passes while I paint outdoors. I try to work fast hoping to capture the essence of a scene before the light changes too drastically. Today, I finally noticed I was starting to get cold and the sun was dropping behind the trees to the west. I'd been there for nearly 2 hours at that point and wished I'd brought along the sweatshirt I left in the truck.
As you can see in this last photo, the light was significantly different than it was when I started the painting. Still, I managed to get it to where I could say "done". 
I smiled as I hauled my gear back to the truck, happy with my effort. I'm looking forward to getting out there again soon!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Problems to Solve

I've been working on a piece titled "Rock Star" for several months and I can't seem to finish it to my satisfaction. It has been one of those paintings that came together very quickly, only to land with a thud at the end. It's spent a large part of the past 6 months leaning against the wall facing the corner... being punished like a rotten child!
The bird... the most important element... has been the sticking point. I've painted in several, only to paint them back out as though they had perched for a second and flown away. I have gone back and forth between a white-throated sparrow and a magnolia warbler... working many poses and gestures... but they feel stiff and lifeless to me. They don't yet feel like they belong in the painting and it frustrates the hell out of me!
So I am going back to the drawing. I may even change the species of bird (again!). I'll keep working until something clicks. It's not so bad. The challenge inspires me.