Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Plein air from Sunday

"The Church at San Miguel Viejo"
14x18 ins. oil on panel

This picture started out fairly well but quickly turned into a disaster and it was embarrassing because it was a paid demonstration (of my masterly technique) for one of Donna's students . I had trouble visualizing it. I had trouble drawing it. I had trouble applying the paint and I had some trouble with the color. I had lots of  poorly timed trouble......................

For the benifit of those few of you who have any interest in the matter, I'll point out the main avoidable problems that were throwing me off and maybe we can remember what not to do in the future. .........maybe.........

 By the way the picture you see above is a bit of a rebuild - I worked on it today for about 3 hours. I'm actually happy with it now. I think now it's the most interesting painting of that church I've done to date. Those flags were worrisome to say the least!
Firstly I was distracted by the circumstances of the event. I've got to totally concentrate when choosing a scene and planning the execution of the painting. There are just so many factors to keep in mind. A good instructor can blot most distractions out - I'm not a good instructor.
Secondly the wind was blowing like crazy and we took a little longer to set up because of it. We tried to find the best protection but the scene precluded total escape.

Thirdly, the worst of it was we were standing under some very dark trees and looking out toward the light. Not only that but the view was up-sun, in the afternoon, making the contrast of light to shade even worse. We couldn't judge our values and colors that we were mixing. I've run into that one lots of times but this was the worst case yet. On top of it all I've been experimenting lately with dark, primed panels. It would have been bad if the surface had been white. It was all too much for this painter. Some of it was fun but there was a point at which I was tempted to scrape.


  1. You certainly did a good job of salvaging this one, in spite of the problems....it's great.

  2. Thank you Kathleen. Sometimes they're born of struggle ..... Yes? If I ever park myself in the deep shade and repeat that said error, squinting into the bright light with a dark primed Panel before me, I will start seeking other employment. Some people have a check list they take painting with them. I was kind of hoping that at this point I'd be carrying that list in my head!