Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A Work in Progress

Mechanicsberg Penn - on location

I've come to learn that every painting, successful or not, has helped me continue forward in my journey to capture my impressions of the landscape.  Occasaionally I'll have a reason to revisit past efforts - in this case in preparation for entering a juried plein air exhibition in Southern Maine.

This sketch was started and completed on location during a family trip to Pennsylvania years ago. I took some time to explore a nearby park and was captivated by this river.

There are a number of things I would change about this painting, but at the time I was most interested in studying the effects of the water with the limited time I had.  What would I change?

A number of elements of the composition (the tree in the center of the river in the center of the painting) as well as the solid trees in the background.  Although this is as the composition was, it doesn't make the best composition for a painting.   

Next I did some compositional sketches - ranging from simple line drawings to more detailed sketches.
                                

This was a quick tonal sketch - not at all concerned about detail, but begining to address the composition and values.


I then did a quick color study and also experimented with natural sponges for applying paint as I had in the on location study.

I then set the sketches aside in a portfolio - which I will most likely turn into finished paintings.  I've got a number of "collections" like this of different subjects that I've set aside for a rainy day.

Each painting also adds a little more knowlege about what does and does not work in producing a desired effect.  Its amazing what you will remember about a location when you spend a few hours painting and observing.  I now don't get concerned if I cannot capture an effect accurately at the time (my observations are often ahead of my ability to capture them in paint) because I can revisit those subjects when I have further developed my skills.

On location sketches also help me develop a "bank" of resources to refer to in future studio work (rivers, clouds, et cetera).

I'd love to hear any tips others may have for working on location.

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