Thursday, September 9, 2010

Myths of Plein Air Painting

One myth about plein air painting is that artists setup their easel and paint in one and a half hours. Sometimes true but other times a particular subject may take a year or more in the making. The subject to the left, settlemeyer ranch, in one example of the latter. I found this very difficult and didnt tackle it until a year or more in my brain. Maybe I needed to be inspired more to do a white house with shadow. Maybe I needed confidence to do a soft mountain in the distance. Maybe increased skill in water. Maybe all the above, but the point is, while I have painted outside for 15 years, I am still growing and learning. A studio artist asked me, after painting outside for three years, if I had it down (learned all there is to know about outside air painting) and now get to the serious business and paint back in the studio. I hope and don't think I will ever get it all, that I continue to understand reflections in water, under the bushes, softness in the mountains, etc. There is so much to observe in mother nature that I will always look to understand more. The point of this message is to give yourself time. Don't compare yourself to others and their progress. Maybe you need two years to master a particular subject area. Respect Your growth and progress, get help from others. ( I offer critiques over the net) And that professionals who win awards for their art (like myself) often struggle and, at best, hit about 300 percent, that is about 3 out of 10 are good paintings. We don't sit down and pound out a winner after winner. I try to paint every day. The painting above, done in Gardernville, Nevada, was completed on the way to my annual study of the sierras. More to be posted on that later. So paint outside, study, fail, and allow time to acquire skills.

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