Thursday, November 14, 2013

Manana en San Mguel de Allende

"Manana en San Miguel"
9 x 12 in. oil on panel
$ 350. U.S.

I started this on Monday with Donna's plein air painting group in the Plaza Civica across from the Oratorio. Since then, every time I've walked by it I couldn't help but diddle with it until now it doesn't exhibit much of it's fresh plein air beginnings. I'm hoping it still has some vestige of the spontaneity it had in the beginning. It was a fun picture to work on and I guess that's why I couldn't stop working on it. I finally decided to STOP! this afternoon as it was starting to ask for a high degree of "finish" and I would rather reserve that for a larger version of the same scene. If I had persisted with this one I would have figured everything was solved and there would be no point in doing the theme over. I will set this aside and not look at it for awhile - when I do I'll decide if it wants to grow. 

By the way - some purists feel that a painting worthy of the term "plein air" must be executed, start to finish in one sitting. It's a matter of definition, I suppose. I almost always start small to medium size oil paintings on location. I finish them there, maybe about a third of the time. The others get varying degrees of "overtime" back in the studio - sometimes just a touch here and there and other times, here and there and everywhere. The important thing to me is that the work has been launched with excitement -the inspiration derived from being in direct contact with ones subject. As you work on the painting during those first hours, all the surrounding sights and sounds sink into your psyche and if that panel asks for more attention later, back in the studio, you find that any additional work you do on it takes you right back to the location again.In this state of mind you can continue the act of creation with what I would call the "right artistic attitude" and the piece will almost automatically retain a lot of freshness.
I have to say I like the spontaneous look of a painting done quickly and accurately. Less is definitely more. In the hands of the vary best plein air painters the results can be sublime. But even they don't get "five star" results every time. I think good advice to anybody journeying along this plein air route would be not to worry too much about purity of process. There are purists and there are purists. I might not measure up to one persons definition because I just can't let a little painting go without further investigation but take note of this;
I have painted with pros that rely on smart phone screens and special apps to help them compose and find colors ........................ well folks - most of the time I don't even pull out a view finder when starting a picture and I certainly have no need for color suggesting apps. So, what does that make me? - I guess I'm a purist too, right? I can't help but smile when I see the "shortcuts" people try to take. Shortcuts have no place in lovemaking.
Final word, - about the only thing I really find obnoxious, even fraudulent are the printer people that  pass dem photos through, dob a lick or two and claim them as originals. Oh, and come to think of it - how about those Chinese sending me emails that quote me a price for doing my future paintings for me??? Hey! - easy street here I come .........................

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