Larger works painted on location often require multiple trips to the same spot, over a period of days, to achieve an adequate level of completion. I've always thought that was not my style. Because, surely, my mood would be different on the following session and mess everything up. Stifling my true art spirit.
Well, I decided to give it a try. Last week I spent the day starting two 18x24" paintings. Put in about three or three and a half hours on this first one and about two on the second, which is not posted here yet. I went back another morning about two days later when the weather was similar. Same start time, eleven a.m.
There was a bad little head cold that beat my butt for a few days. Then yesterday I worked for two hours on this one in the studio. Today I took it back out to the same spot where I had left rocks to mark the positions of my easel legs and had another three hours painting session with it.
The above photo is how things looked this morning at eleven when I had things set up and was ready to go.
I really love these pink-red-white-light yellow grasses this time of year that catch the light just right and have different colors depending how you look at them. They can really light up a hillside or field at the right time of day.
This picture is how it looked this afternoon when I got it back home. I can see a few things that I still want to tweak, but I won't need the actual scene in front of me to work it out.
Hey, what do you know. I like taking the same painting back for several sessions. I feel like Sam I am after finally eating some Green Eggs and Ham.
It won't work for certain fleeting light effects or other similar situations where "capturing the unique moment, raw feeling, light affect thing" is what I'm after. There is some sort of freshness that I love about alla prima paintings done all in one go. But, I'll be exploring working larger outdoors for sure. 30x40 here I come.
This is a picture I snapped while painting this morning. It is the same two trees that are in the left side of the painting. Shows how tall those grasses are. That has been one of the toughest parts in this and I'm not sure it's quite there just yet. They would be a great device for letting you know just how tall that grass really is. Glad they did not pass by while I was blocking this one in or I would have tried to paint them in. Too late now because it would change everything. Maybe in another painting.
Marc Hanson has been doing some great large paintings over several sessions lately. If you have not seen them you should check out his blog. There is a link in my blogroll to the side if you're not familiar with his blog.
gorgeous grasses and horses!
how fun to discover a new manner of working!
lovely as always, sam!
Nice post, Frank. I'm drawn to your landscape and climate. The painting is lovely and the description of process and thoughts, always nice to read about. I think Marc's work is wonderful, also.
Frank--I haven't said much lately, but my bad arm is now mending and I'll be back on my blog soon. I was down there this time last year and remember the pink grasses well. About painting large on location: what works for me is to go to the location, make some quick notebook sketches and take a photo. Back at the studio, I draw the scene on the canvas (usually 20 X 16)in light graphite, then using the photo for reference, paint a value painting in the dominant color. This works for me as I need time to work out the drawing which you may recall I don't do very well. This also works where there is difficult perspective. So I avoid the overworking that goes with over correcting. I go back to the site at the same time of day(hoping for similar conditions and adjusting for the tide if the ocean's involved)then paint the scene as it is at that time. Once or twice values have changed a little so you have to adjust. But this method allows me to deal with a weakness (drawing)and still gives me the spontaneity of a plein air piece. So you're not alone!
Beautiful. Worth every minute of the multiple days.
Frank, I really appreciate you sharing your thought and painting processes. It is always so helpful. I was out painting this morning and kept looking at the grasses (they weren't pink). They're a fun challenge.
Love to "listen to you" as you explain how and why you develop certain things in your work....
Love to see your paintings too....
Yeah... I saw Marc Hanson's big plein air work... it's amazing too. Hard to believe he works to large all in one "sitting".
My girlfriend Sharon...did what you did recently and went back at the same time several days to complete a piece... I love her painting, but so far I'm not up to it.
Yea!, Frank... Good to know that artists as good as you are feel the need to stretch and try new things too!!
love your painting! I want to start painting plein aire. I haven't got the courage up yet to leave the security of my studio. I enjoy reading your insight to painting on location. Thank you.
Beautiful...makes one want to go and sit under that tree and enjoy the nature. I think you really captured the feeling of such a magical spot. I have not painted much outside...but this sure gives one motivation. Thanks for sharing all your process. Very interesting. Am going to enjoy visiting you often.
I really couldn't sleep last night after coming upon your blog, Frank! Such exciting brush marks, amazing color. very beautiful and inspiring.
Hi, Frank...As always, great brushwork. Super balance between the "reds" and the "greens"!
Lovely painting. Love the pink. Love the tall blades of grass. Love those horses.
Gorgeous work - colors, brush strokes, composition, much to learn studying this.
Nice blog. Your posts are interesting and your work inspirational.
I've had this one for my screensaver the last couple of days. So inspiring!
Hello Mr. Gardner,
Your paintings have real atmosphere. The air is almost palpable. I like them.
I always enjoy reading your posts! Thanks for sharing your painting process. Wonderful plein air btw!
a very interesting post ...with a top drawer painting to go with it.
Great read, much fun. I paint mostly in my chamber and when I read your blog I see that painting can of course be so much more. Thanks!
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