Friday, November 6, 2009

Go With First Impressions

When arriving at a plein air site, whether or not you've been there before, try not to bring any pre-conceptions with you. For example, if you go to a familiar location and have always painted the same subject, but this time something else catches your eye, maybe that should be a clue to what your enthusiasm is for that day. Once I went to the Cozy Harbor Yacht Club with the intention of painting the youngsters who were out for their sailing lessons. The kids had parked their bicycles in back of the building. I kept trying to convince myself to paint the small sailboats, but the bikes kept calling me. Then I decided the bikes were too hard. But finally I gave in and painted the bikes using a diminishing repeat that carefully described the couple of bikes in front, and used diminishing repeats to suggest the rest of the bikes. Way out in the distance past the building and the bikes, I placed a couple of small sailboats. I still titled it "The Sailing Lesson". It sold the day after I put it in the gallery.
This painting was at Liberty Farm in Boothbay, Maine. My Wednesday Plein Air group friends were all painting the wonderful old barn and farmhouse. But for me the day was about all the chickens that were underfoot, scratching and clucking. And when I spotted the woodpile, I knew that I had to paint them near it.
Go with your first impression! You'll probably bring more conviction and excitement to the subject.

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