Day 3 Painting Challenge

2021.04.08AWLChallengeDay3. - 2
No painting yesterday as I had other obligations.  Made a point of painting this morning.  This scene was from a photo I took on a hike with my oldest son a number of years ago.  It's a view of Long Lake with Niwot Ridge in the background in the mountains west of Boulder & Longmont.  It's probably my favorite area in Colorado and sits just to the south of my other favorite area, Rocky Mountain National Park.  

2021.04.08AWLChallengeDay3. - 1
I spent 20 - 30 minutes on this - I lost track of the time as "the cat" upended my glass of water in the middle! In the past, I would have called this a "block in" and continued on. What I'm learning with these quick studies, is that the colors are more vivid, the essence more heartfelt if I stop at this point. This is a groundbreaking revelation for me, as in the past I would have continued on and the colors would have become duller and the scene less emotional. (see the end of this post for an example) Now if I could just figure out how to bring this expressiveness into a larger studio piece!

As for other things I want to work on, I'd like to get better with those far distant colors so they recede into the background better.  I may make that the focus of my next challenge.  That will need to wait until later in the month as next week is turning out to be super busy and will finish with "Plein Air Live", an online intensive 3 day painting workshop.  I loved doing it last year and learned so much! 

2021.04.08AWLChallengeDay3. - 3
This is the value study I did for today's painting.  These little sketches don't take long, but they make such a huge difference in my painting.  

2021.04.08AWLChallengeDay3. - 4
Despite yesterday's obligations, I did make time to do a value sketch.  I may do this painting tomorrow.  Or I may stick to scenes from Colorado.  This scene was an old vacant home in rural southwest Iowa that I fell in love with.  I love the way the house is surrounded with bridal veil spirea bushes and the lilacs and trees in the yard.  In some ways, it represents a "dream" home for me.  I think I was too vested in the emotional reaction I have to this house to paint it yesterday, so I let those obligations be my excuse not to paint.  So for now, I think I need to stick to less emotionally charge pieces.  

2020.07.20RMNPPainting - 4
Here's an example of what I was talking about earlier.  This is a Plein air painting I did last summer in Rocky Mountain National Park.  This rough block in has vibrant colors and really captured the essence of what drew me to this scene in the first place.  

2020.07.20RMNPPainting - 22
I spent another hour working on it and this is the finished result.  I fell into a common trap with Plein air painting that we call "chasing the light".  This is where a quick value study can help as well.  This particular day got hazier as the sun rose higher in the sky and the light was less brilliant. As you can see, the painting got duller and the light that I had been drawn to changed.  While I'm still happy with it as a painting, I wish I had been able to keep the immediacy of the block in.  If I had it to do over again, I would have left the background untouched from the block in and worked harder at maintaining the foreground color. Lessons learned! 

2020.08.13HomeUpdates - 6
Despite it not turning out quite like I had hoped, I liked it well enough, that I did hang it on my wall along with two others I did last summer! 



CaLynn said…
I have never been a painter (though I totally WOWed myself with a paint-by-numbers a few years ago) but am always drawn to them. This post was great in helping me understand the *process*, which often gets left out in favor of the finished piece. I liked seeing the value studies, and your comments on when to stop to get the emotional feeling that you wanted to capture. If I had more time to squeeze out of my day, I just might have to add small paintings to my list! Thank you! :D

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