Monday, January 4, 2016

"winter twilight" ...Day 4

After weeks of rain, we had a sunny day yesterday...from sun up to sun down.  It was cold but then again, it's supposed to be in January.  Our dogs have been trapped inside with no exercise during all of this rain.  I can't begin to count the loads of dog towels I have washed to try and keep the mud out of the house.  So yesterday late in the afternoon, as I headed out, my daughter brought the dogs along to give them a little fresh air and exercise.

It was a beautiful evening and the light was gorgeous.  But I was a distracted painter.  And our dogs were distracted dogs.  Everyone else, it seems had the same idea  to get their dogs out.  Not only that but most dogs were off leash which made for some craziness with our dogs who were not.  My daughters arms were yanked this way and that trying to maintain control.  And the temperature was dropping quickly.  I had made the mistake of not dressing warmly enough and my hands were getting numb.
A more well-behaved moment!

The bridge and the bare trees had attracted me to this scene but at some point it became more about getting paint on the canvas and getting the dogs back to the jeep before they got any wilder than it was painting.  And that's ok.  Sometimes with plein air the circumstances around you take over and you just can't block them out.  It's just the nature of the beast.

Above is my painting that I did at the park.  There are several things that I'm unhappy with.  The shape of the biggest tree is very undefined.  And the shape of the tree was one of the things I really liked.  There is no real clear focal point and I feel like the sky color, although accurate does nothing for the painting.  It needs to hold you in the painting, especially with all of the upright branches taking you out of the picture.  And there is too much bridge.   It is distracting behind the trees and it divides the picture plane.  While this painting gathered information it is just not a good composition or execution.

They don't all work out.  If I had more time and had been dressed better, I would have scraped this one down and started again.  But in the winter months, darkness comes quickly.  The elements sometimes win.  So here is what I did this morning from my painting from yesterday.

First, you can see the format has changed from horizontal to vertical.  I wanted more tree and less bridge.  I had sketched out both compositions in my sketchbook but went with the horizontal.  The sky color is more dramatic at the top of the painting to keep your eye in the painting.  And I eliminated some of the other trees that were distracting.  Although it is still a struggle working on such a small format, I am happier with this one.

"winter twilight"
7" x 5" oil on panel


I will be teaching a plein air workshop in Edisto Island, SC in March.  If one of your New Year's resolutions is to learn to paint plein air or just paint better, come join me!  We will paint, learn, laugh and have fun.  Click Here for more information! Edisto Island Plein Air Workshop

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