Wednesday, December 26, 2012

From Here and There

"En la Plaza Civica"  9x12 in. oil on panel
This one was done on our plein air day 2 weeks ago.

"Dried Flowers" 9x12 in. 
and this one was from this past Monday session. 

I'm happy with both of these - they've got good strength of color and were both very nearly completed on location. I like the direction my technique is going. Like a lot of people, I always felt that everything I did was way too tight. I guess the only way to really escape that is by "paying your dues" and you can rest assured that I certainly paid mine! In the end though painting has become highly pleasurable entertainment. I just wish that there would have been an opportunity to get better instruction when I went for it back in my teens. Even today a young person with potential would have a hard time finding a really useful Maestro with the ability, patience and care to indicate the way forward. It;'s not that they don't exist but they're a very rare hominid indeed. I happen to be married to one! -Donna Dickson. It's incredible .......... she received her early instruction from me, at a time when I could have used some supercharging from above, myself. We both went on through the years to explore together and in the end she not only became a highly skilled painter but unlike myself, an accomplished instructor as well. Now it's great! - when she offers some criticism I really listen up. I only wish I'd bumped into the likes of her way..... back....... when ......................

"Los Vendadores"  24x30 ins. oil on canvas

This one is based on a photo of  street vendors at Sayulito, from our recent trip to the Pacific coast. I'm working on a few bigger beach scenes from the area at the moment but this thing was the most complicated and troublesome to work on and the only one I've actually finished as yet. I'll post the others soon, as they're well on the way and I'm pretty excited with them. Come to think of it, I never got around to posting any of the demos from that workshop in Guayabitos. I may take a few snaps now and post them if the light is decent. If not ..... there is always "manana".

I just remembered - I already took those photos weeks ago and sent them to a friend. So, here they are .....

I haven't affixed titles to them so far. They are mostly 14x18 ins. None of them I consider to be really finished. I don't know when I'll get around to doing that - maybe a rainy day. Trouble is it almost never rains here between now and July.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Perfect Day at San Miguel Viejo

"AUTUMN, SAN MIGUEL VIEJO" 14x18 ins. oil on canvas

This is from our last plein air day and it was one of the most pleasant days painting I can remember. It was identical to what we used to call back home in Ontario an "Indian Summer Day" - not too hot, not too cold, with a gentle, soft breeze and this golden, quiet afternoon glow to everything. We were surrounded by farm animals and even they seemed especially content. When we arrived a mother cow was licking the face of her calf and when we left she was still soggily at it. An untethered colt came up the path kicking his heels and settled down to munching in the field next to us. Yes, it was a prime day - even the farmers seemed to get it and were extra friendly. When it came time to go we all just kind of bumbled around with no desire to leave. Painting on location is practically always enjoyable but sometimes it's just too cool.

On Thursday we're off to the beach for a couple of weeks of teaching and painting different subject matter (not to mention some nice bobbing in the waves). We'll be going to Rincon de Guayabitos first, crossing to Baja for a meet up with old friends and finally returning to Mazatlan for a few days. I probably shant get around to posting for the next month. (Sorry, - I know it's going to be hard but you'll just have to suck it up and be patient.) God  or  whatever willing, we should be back in a few weeks sporting a good tan and fine attitude.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

"November Fields" 14x18 ins. oil on canvas
We're going back to the same location tomorrow afternoon. I liked this scene right away when I saw it but realized that the corn stalk stacks and all that stubble were going to be a challenge and a half. It turned out O.K. I think but IT WAS A BIT OF A CHALLENGE! The whole thing has that kind of forlorn, "waiting for the first snows" kind of look.................. of course we could be in for a very long wait. That's a dormant volcano in the background and we did spy snow on the upper slopes one cold morning a few years back. We had a maid back in the 80's who saw flakes in the air when she was a little girl. 
People used to tell us that they couldn't move south permanently because they would miss the changing seasons - fact is the seasons do change here, only they just don't slide into that long, ghastly deep freeze one and all seasons are plein air painting seasons. You just have to find a little shade from time to time when it gets too hot. Am I gloating? You bet - this place is a painters delight!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

new ones ..........

..... so far untitled. Les will recognize this one. We had a great day together a week or so ago. We started in the morning at the Presa and ended up painting near Dolores Hidalgo later on, 'till about 5 pm. It was very gray by the late afternoon so I added a little sunshine back in the studio.

Well now .................... I see I have taken a picture of the wrong one. I meant to post the other we did that day but this one was from a few days prior - Elaine will recognize this'n confusing to the old man! It is from the Presa area however - no cigar I guess but close. I will put the other on real soon.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Sunny Monday Morning


You wouldn't know it from the look of this but it turned out to be a very busy location. Busy, maybe a bit chilly in the shade with a constant cool wind but in some ways perfect. There is motorcycle parking just behind where we were standing, with a 20 foot open space to the corner, so we were again in nobody's way. Not that it matters much in San Miguel - it's pretty hard to strain the peoples seemingly endless patience. But the sidewalks are only about 2 feet wide in places, so it feels a lot better to plunk our easels somewhere a bit out of the way. Being the slow season we only had 1 student again this morning and that too opens up a larger number of places to set up. We had a cool morning, all doing well. Elaine has painted with us for years and is freshly back from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She  thought the morning here was really warm and balmy. Donna and my blood has obviously thinned in the usual heat because we were freezing! I guess we won't be flying back to Canada to paint snow this winter - we would most certainly perish. 
Well, the colors of this scene really caught our collective eye and I was reasonably happy with my work this morning. I'll probably do a few strokes yet and maybe add some hominids. We had hundreds go by us and they seemed pretty appreciative, so we didn't have to yell at them to go away when they stayed to stare and stare.

"Calle Codo Colors"  9x12 ins. oil on panel

In the end I decided I'd seen bastante people today so I left all trace of the folks out. The interest in this picture was the color any way and I thought it was better left nice and bare. Maybe I'll do a bigger one of it some time and add some human interest - for now es completo.

Monday, October 1, 2012

This morning on Recreo

3 hours into this mornings subject

We had another small class this morning as not too many student painters are in town this time of year. I was a little late to the site but Donna and Yvonne had found a really great place to paint from on this busy, busy street. There's a parking lot inside the large gate to the left and the muchachos put out pylons to keep cars from parking too close to the gate - the street is so narrow that if they parked too close, cars (especially long ones) couldn't make the turn. As it is, biggies like suburbans have to do it in 2 or 3 goes. Well, there was a small car parked behind the pylon to their backs and the 2 of them squeezed into the space left between the trunk and the pylon. Best of all, the 2 of them let me squeeze in between them to paint. It worked out fantastically well and we all had a great time. The lot gate kept the view mostly clear in front of us and the guy with the trunk behind us didn't move his car.

I don't care for the alignment of the red car, dark doorway and church dome. However, it was even worse in reality and I had to alter things a bit to get the composition to come off as well as it did. I'll put a few finishing touches on this, this afternoon or maybe in the morning when I'm a bit fresher. I could almost leave it as is but I think it would be fun to tweak it a bit.

the subject
I used some license in removing both the yellow pylon and the back of Yvonnes head. Also, I should note that it was sunny at first but I didn't get around to taking the photo 'till about noon. Remember - always take your reference photo BEFORE you begin !!!  NO EXCEPTIONS !!!!

"Calle Recreo" 9x12 ins.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

and while on that same theme

"Market Day"  8x10 ins. oil on panel

An obvious variation on the same theme as the previous. I may end up doing a larger one of this and probably more of the type but for the moment I'm going to move on to another large landscape for a break.

I've been getting more interested in color as a compositional element. Light was always my first concern up until now. That's still a primary consideration and will continue to be but I always felt that if I ever got that more or less under control I would really like to fully investigate color. Well, it's about time and I'm pretty excited about it. There is lots of color to play with in San Miguel and I'm sure it'll keep me going 'till eternity. Back in art school, oh so many ages ago, I was looking forward to the color class more than any other subject. The teacher killed it for me on the first day with the statement "anybody can make a painting work using dulled down, grayed colors - we are going to use pure, bright hues to make our paintings sing "etc......

Well folks, a hall full of trumpets does not make for a timeless symphony. 
You're going to have to arrange your instruments  in some way .............

As in most aspects of painting, subtlety, balance and rhythm is where the beauty lies in Art. Go for it! and remember the best sailing is on  "the uncharted sea".

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Very Fast Food

"Platicando" 16x20 in. oil on canvas
This is a picture of one of the vendors and amiga over near the San Juan de Dios church. She's waiting for the kids to get out of the school next door to the church and she'll sell them a bunch of stuff that is actually pretty bad for them. However, the ninos love the stuff and she, her set up and friends contribute  much appreciated color and charm to the scene. No, it's not a plein air study but it came to life owing to the fact that the camera was at hand on one of our Monday morning outings. The tasteful table cloth and the pea green cart wheel simply blow me away .....................

Monday, September 10, 2012

How Time Flies when you're painting .........

First up, - this mornings plein air. It's not signed and I'll probably do a little work on it but not much. We went back to the San Antonio church and managed to find a new angle or two off the square. Only 4 showed up today as it's really slowing down for this fall's shoulder season but we had a lot of fun and went for lunch and a beer after. While we painted a guy who lives across the calle was watching us from his upstairs window and finally came down to have a word with me. He liked what he saw and told me he was a guitar player. Great! - I love live Spanish guitara when painting outside of the perks of this line of work. So he nipped up and got his guitar, sat down on the curb and picked some of the worst guitar music I've ever heard for the next 30 minutes or so. It was a painful surprise, for when a Mexican tells you he plays guitara you can generally rest assured you are in for some class entertainment. Well ..... I didn't know how to react - didn't want to embarrass the guy. So, I pretended I was REALLY CONCENTRATING to cover for the lack of applause. It was a bit of a tooth gritter. You never know what's going to befall you on the streets of old Mexico.

Below:  some of the new ones I've been working on over the last month. 
"The Corn Seller" 16x20 ins.  oil on panel

"Afternoon Shadows along the Rio Laja"  30x40 ins. oil on canvas

"Evening after the Rain"  20x30 ins.  oil on panel

Thursday, August 2, 2012


"La Bomba Historica" 9x12 in. oil on panel

Well there you are Les. Remember I told you I hate doing commissions?
I loved doing this one! When you have a minute let me know what you think.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Painting on location is a Challenge!

the start

the finish

"Down Piedras Chinas"  9x12 ins.oil on panel 

Painting on location is indeed a Challenge!
We went up to Piedras Chinas again early this sunny morning. It was beautiful but it was cold standing in the shade and with the wind wafting up the calle. That was to be expected,  high in the mountains, even in the midst of summer and I can handle that. Maybe my blood has thinned over the time I've lived here but as I say "it's all part of the job" - when you're really excited and working hard you generate a certain amount of internal heat. People can be a problem .............. and bugs too. Often you roast in the sun in order to exploit that particular angle you just couldn't pass up.
But sometimes they can surprise you and what happened this fine morn was a bit exceptional. I had set up in the middle of the sidewalk in front of a very quiet residence - no sign of life. When I say the "middle" of the sidewalk it is to be understood that I was occupying the whole of the sidewalk as they're about  20 inches wide at this point on P. Chinas. The front walls of the houses begin at the edge of the sidewalk. I hadn't taken any great notice of  the overhanging balcony above. You can't envision every possible eventuality when you go "en plein air" - I hadn't packed an umbrella either ...... it was a fine sunny day. Well, I was pretty inspired by the scene, drawing accurately, working fast - just a cookin' along -  at the point where a little infusion of detail would maybe, with a little luck bring this adventure to a happy conclusion. I was a bit cold so I crossed the road to soak up some sunshine. It doesn't hurt to take a short break at this point, anyway. It allows you a fresh, critical look at what you've done before you do any final damage. We all congregated for a few minutes and whilst our bones warmed we noticed a gringa moving about in the upstairs portion of the casa in question. Suddenly she open the shutters and started liberally watering her thirsty balcony plantas. It didn't take long for that water to seep through the pots and caer to the calle below. In a word, it was a total wash out. The worst of the cascade fell right where I had been standing at the easel. All I could do was gather up my stuff before it got too soggy and move up to where the others were- safe on high ground. 
So, I cussed and shuffled around, generally making a nuisance of myself for quite a time. I finally settled down enough to do a little sketching of an all new subject but the spell definitely had been broken. I started a  painting of this new subject but everyone else was finishing up while I was only about a quarter into it, so we all packed up and headed back down town. 
However, I will work the "start" above to a finish and we'll see where it goes ................

Photo reference
It's kind of dark but should be of some help. Minutes after the photo was taken the site was rendered no-go.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Monday Plein Air

the start

We only had 3 people show up for "Plein Air Monday" this morning. I think because of all the rain lately everybody assumed it would be a washout and slept in. Some folks, I know had better excuses than that. Anyway, we missed you and the sun came through now and then. Although it was a bit chilly we had a good time. We set out to paint the very old little church on Piedras Chinas (near the bottom at Garza). Donna and Yvonne found a good angle and did a couple of good watercolors but I couldn't seem to be happy with the church, so I found myself a windy little spot in the deep shade at one extreme corner of the churchyard looking down onto calle Garza where it meets P. Chinas. I ended up doing a wider angle of it than I at first thought, so I don't have reference material for the foreground vegetation - I may go back up in the morning to finish it "in situ". I will post the result ...............

"Morning Light"  9x12 ins. oil on panel
$450. U.S.
I don't know how many "morning lights" I must have painted by now. ........... Lots!
However, that title seemed to fit better than all other contenders so, - there you are.
It was a great challenge that I hope I have pulled off not too shabbily. It was especially tricky retaining  (maybe even enhancing) the feeling of looking down over that bank. I left out the V.W. in the yard below - it would have become a competing, extra and unnecessary center of interest - even though the empty yard might be a little lonesome without it.

the ref photo

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


the subject

I forgot to take a ref photo on the morning the painting was begun, so I took this one this morning. Never forget to take a reference photo before you begin. So I have this very dull photo to work from. Naturally, it was sunny the day the painting was begun. Not the end of the world as we know it however. It may even be a plus - we'll see how it goes. It's pretty obvious that we don't try to slavishly copy the subject at any rate.
An artist re-arranges, re-designs, composes, drawing heavily from the right side of their brain .......... 
..........often butchering beyond any hope of recovery what could have been a nice little picture ...........

the "start"

It's pretty dull in the studio for painting today - I've been waiting for the light to strengthen a bit but it doesn't look promising. Anyway, let us begin .....................

the "finish"
"Rooftops"  9x12 in. oil on panel
$450. U.S.

Well now,

The first tool I grabbed was the palette knife and I stuck with it almost all the way through. It was very engaging, almost fun, working it over but you know it wasn't nearly as much fun as in the beginning when it was just a "start".  Did I butcher it beyond hope of recovery? - no, I don't think so. I like the result but I do a lot of second guessing that I shouldn't. I just can't seem to help nudging the color a bit here and there, just to see what it might have looked like that way -  I'm usually surprised  to find later that the original, spontaneous decisions were better. Is this a case of "curiosity killed the cat" only in this case it's paintings?
Sobre todo was an entertaining challenge and those funky rooftops came off not too bad.
...................time to move on ..................

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Resurfacing .....................

the subject

my "interpretation"

mmmmmmmmm ....................... I think this scene has tremendous potential but I don't think I'll do a lot more on this "sketch" than what I did on location yesterday morning. (it remains to be seen  if I can hold myself to that) If I can find the time, I'd like to do a more controlled studio version of this. It would be nice if I could do this without sucking all the spontaneity out of it ............ but I can see more potential with the composition. I think what I did yesterday was passable but maybe I should have spent a little bit more time with viewfinder and sketch pad, Yes? - oft times, like this time, I just jump right in and feel guilty later.
 Hate that.

I've been pretty busy lately. There are a couple more "starts" I'll have to get back to from last week and I'll post them after I deal with this one. I've also been working on a large studio painting of the dreaded Parroquia and environs. It's almost complete and was more than a bit of a handful. You'll see............
At the same time our supply of custom design plein air kits dwindled to nada, so I've been crafting away on the side. We're not all snoozin in the shade of a cactus down here..........

 "Esquina de las Animas" 12x9 ins.
oil on panel     $450. U.S.

True to form I fussed with it all afternoon but I still like it. I think it lost a little here and gained a little there.
I'll post another of last weeks "starts" in the morning. Pleasant dreams .................

Thursday, June 28, 2012

June 25th. "San Miguel Morning" completed

"San Miguel Morning" 9x12 in. oil on panel
$450. U.S.

I'm going to place the finished ones along with maybe some explanation in the initial blog with the "starts"and photos, so they can be compared more or less alongside with the first posting. So check the previous entry if you're interested. You'll also notice that I've posted a price on this one. I'm going to put prices on the finished ones from now on (unless they're first class duds) so they can be purchased outside of the gallery. With tourism in a bit of a slump we're not getting the numbers through the gallery that we used to. I'll post prices on the other recent ones too.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Morning June 25th. plein air

June 25th 9x12 in.plein air from this morning at the Jardin in centro San Miguel de Allende

 We picked a great location this morning. Everyone was fairly close together but all facing different directions and all with very nice compositions and good results after several hours work.Donna tells me I've got to start placing my people earlier in the process. She's right of course. - teachers are so annoying.
I think this will be fun to work on tomorrow morning. The photo looks quite different. Part of that is because there is a wider gamut of contrast between the lights and darks in a digital photo. Even a print of a photo will generally have more contrast than an oil painting. You have to be careful when using a photo image for reference that this phenomena doesn't lead one astray. Squinting at the two pictures you will see that the bright cream wall of the Allende building across the way is brighter than that same part in the sketch. I could have made this slightly lighter by using more white but the yellow saturation would decrease and even if it didn't it could never attain the brightness of the actual, anyway. Of course, even a digital photo can't reproduce the true, actual gamut of reality. All an artist can do is closely imitate the sequence of values (contrast) in an attempt to get  all the elements into their proper positions relative to each other. In a high contrast picture like this one it demands getting your darks quite dark and your lights almost "washed out".

If all the above sounds like gobbledigook, try lifting these two pics and place them side by side. Squinting at the two at once might be very instructive.

"San Miguel Morning" 9x12 in. oil on panel
This is the completed painting. I've decided to post the finished ones on the same page as the "starts" - makes more sense I think. I'm pretty happy with the result of this one. The fact that I didn't totally lose the spirit of the original is always gratifying. You can see that contrast thing I was talking about - it's still apparent when you compare the finished product to the photo below. In the photo the cream wall is a lot lighter than the blue part of the sky, the blue sky is a lot lighter that the lit leaves of the tree.............. and so it goes. If your desire is to really handle light well, you have to begin to understand the phenomenon like a good photographer. I tend to harp on this stuff, first because it's exciting and second because, after all this blog is ALOTaboutLIGHT - Right?
Any comments or criticisms are always welcome.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Rio Laja Valley completo

"Rio Laja Valley" 14x18 ins. oil on panel
$850. U.S.

We've got to get out to the country and do some more hard core landscapes! 

I'm O.K.with this was fun but there's always room for improvement - lots of room.
As always, your well-considered comments are appreciated.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Rio Laja Plein Air unfinished

14x18 ins. oil on panel

and the photo below

The photo tends to make this place look a little flat. It's really quite an inspiring location. You're up on this limestone bluff overlooking the river valley. We were hoping the clouds would roll our way later in the afternoon and sure nuf they did. Their shadows creeping across the terrain were so nice and added a lot of depth. It's an unusual location - the river valley has a lot of limestone but the highlands are all extinct volcanoes. I started this a couple of weeks ago just after the corn was planted in the fields below. We've since been doused with some rain, so it's going to look completely different in short order. We'll have to go back and squeeze out more green  this time - any takers? On second thought to get there you have to ford the Laja. It was bone dry last time ............... better take a ride up there and check first.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Obra Terminada & Calle Corregidora

"Back street, Guanajuato"  14x18 ins. oil on panel
$850. U.S.

I'm still a little uncertain about "The Rug". I only included it in the beginning because I didn't like the way the eye was just going to fly up that callejon - instinct told me it needed a little transition element there. In the original photo taken before I started the picture, the shadow fell partially across the upper right part of the grate (let's stop calling it a rug - really!) and I think it would have worked better because it would have been sort of partially obscured - camouflaged if you will. At any rate, I just had to try it - nothing ventured / nothing gained. I think the figure worked pretty well - though she looks a bit like she might of flown in from Oaxaca. In my opinion the overall composition is, in the end, pretty interesting. There is a lot of movement to be sure, but still - you can't help but return to that hike up the hill. I was happy with the color, the light, the sense of place and the loose handling ....................
Now, please tell me what You think. If you like you can be scathing with your criticism. I tend to follow my own impulses, with little or no regard for convention. I need your feedback!

the original photo

 "Calle Corregidora"  12x9 ins. oil on panel
$450. U.S.

The photo of this one came out a lot cooler than the actual picture. It's been cloudy lately and I take these things under natural light. Again, the addition  of the figures helped. I suppose I could have left most of the other fiddling out ......... just gotta muck with 'em ................

Monday, June 18, 2012

Out of Sequence already...........

I went out with the plein air group and painted this one this morning. It's unfinished and it will be next in line after I finish the Guanajuato one manana. It was too nice a morning not to go out.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

.........Hove Too in the Tempest

I had to quit working on this yesterday afternoon when it got too dark to paint. I paint by natural light and the cloud bands from Hurricane Carlotta started moving in yesterday about noon. It's very dark again today so I guess I'll have to let the storm pass before I can continue on this one. This photo was taken under very grey skylight, so the color is a bit off by the way.

I decided the painting looked like it wanted some palette knife work. Old walls and such can really look texturally satisfying when done with the knife. I intend to add a figure and make a few other changes yet. The composition of this picture is a bit unusual - even dangerous you might say. There is always the risk of dividing interest in a composition with the result that you don't really have a center of interest - picture elements just rattle around everywhere competing for attention. On the other hand, I have no patience for too restrictive formula's. If you were to follow too closely some of the recipes found in a lot of howtoo books you would end up doing  near identical, derivative schlock over and over. Lots of overly proud "artists" do this. In my opinion, you should take "golden rules" with a chaser of scepticism. Leave straight edges and calipers to the draftsmen - you should learn to intuitively "feel" when a proposed composition has reached the zenith of it's potential for expression and that "feel" is only going to come with experience. Study the formula's and understand their intended strategies but remain flexible.  I myself (probably like you) am only in the student phase of learning these things but I've been at it long enough and had enough of failure and success to have gotten to know many of the "traps" on an intimate basis. All said and done, it's a lot more interesting and instructive to "sail the uncharted seas". 
We'll get under way again when this tempest passes and I'll post the final result probably on Monday.

Friday, June 15, 2012

............I've been thinking..............

Yes, for the last 48 hours I've been pondering things. In at least one direction hopeless, depressing things that are, at any rate, quite beyond my control. So, I'll leave those things and the people associated with them to their fate and concentrate on trying to increase the candlepower in our little corner of the universe. This miraculous, natural world still deserves to be viewed with appreciation and as long as I breathe I don't intend to let careless conformists suck that capacity out of me.

Well now. I've also been pondering my relationship to painting. That relationship has gone through a lot of changes over my lifetime. At first I only painted when the spirit moved me and I was thereby moved to produce about 3 pictures a year. Then came art school where I learned that it would be utterly impossible to make a living as a landscape painter, despite one's apparent potential (thanks for the extra dung guy's - as if there wasn't enough floating through the back alleys of our culture). The only alternative offered was advertising but though my friend Rick Taylor and I were thoroughly  fascinated and highly amused by the subject, it wasn't the sort of pile that would hold any personal attraction as a career. Propaganda, you see.
So there were a lot of lean years but eventually I followed my own course and as sales increased we got used to the concept of financial incentive as a factor in the production of art. Then of course the whole bleating flock had the rug pulled from under them and sales have again declined.
 My problem is this: I love painting on location - "en plein aire"- if you prefer French. And that's how I begin most of what I do. But I'm increasingly having trouble getting inspired to finish what I start, in the studio. It's got to be a lack of incentive. It's not 20% the fun in the studio that it is on location and I suspect you need some kind of positive expression of appreciation for the work you're doing to keep you interested. Sales were always an expression of appreciation, which were in turn definitely appreciated. Don't get me wrong - things still sell  (we're certainly not facing starvation) - just not at a rate to make you feel that the thing you're toiling over in the studio has a very positive chance of  coughing up much in the way of remuneration.

O.K. - the above may or may not be understandable to the reader but I  have a plan that may or may not supply a remedy for my  situation. Donna (my wife who is an indisputably top notch teacher of painting) is trying to get me to take a more active role in teaching myself. Given the present climate, it makes sense. The trouble is there is a lot of skill involved in being an effective teacher. I have almost no experience compared to her. When it comes time to critique some students work I only feel comfortable in giving encouragement. But students are not paying for only encouragement. Even so it takes a lot of sensitivity and tact to honestly give meaningful assistance when it comes to painting. I need practice. 

My Plan:
* One; I will immediately post any plein air work I may have started, in it's finished or unfinished state.I'll also post a photo of the location taken that very day. I'll try to give some analysis of where I might have gone right or wrong and speculate where I might go with it in the studio. Having stuck my neck out, I will then go to work in the studio and see if I can bring out the best in the piece, posting the result as soon as I figure it's done. It should be like doing a demo - hangin' way out there, with lots of incentive to make it to the finish line. Almost like the Daily Painter thing. In fact, that too might be an option. But whatever, ................. feel free to critique the beegeezes out of me - I need to get used to it.
* Two; I am going to encourage mid-level to advanced painters to not only critically analyse what I'm doing but to email any plein air work they've done that  they would like critiqued. I will do my best to deliver constructively helpful criticism. If I get overwhelmed with responses (doubt it) and it becomes an impossible burden I'll have to modify my approach but for the moment I think it might be interesting and useful.

First Up
This is as the 14"x18" painting stood after 2.5 hours work on a street in Guanajuato last Saturday morning. I haven't touched it since (as I say, I've been doing a lot of thinking - not much painting this week). 
Below this is a photo of the subject taken at the beginning of the painting session. It wasn't quite wide angled enough but there's enough there to serve as partial reference material. I'll work on the painting this morning and post the result in the afternoon. Somebody said at the time "you got that shadow color on the street just right" - well I can see how I fiddled with it later and ended up getting it "just wrong". Hey! - the light had changed by then, right? Well, ....yes it had, of course but that's no excuse. It was also pointed out that my sewer grate looks like a carpet ................ people are so mean. Actually, I think the color was coming out pretty good but the worst of it was we all got started a little late and I jumped right into the painting without any preliminary drawing. That can be fatal. In this case it only critically wounded the beast - we'll see if I can pump some life back into it over the course of the day. 
I'll post the before and after's later with the photo below the two. Isn't this fun?
Time to put out the paints and brew up a strong cup -hasta luego.