Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Revisiting a Plein Aire Painting

The plein air experience is wonderful and invigorating in so many ways, but while each painting is a learning experience, the results are not always inspiring.  I have a studio full of really bad, boring plein air paintings.  Most are simply set aside and forgotten, some are removed from the stretchers and discarded but in a few cases, I'll put one back on the easel to see if I can 'save' it.  I've had occasional success with this "repainting", usually by introducing some new, clean colors, pushing the background back a little more and sharpening detail.  Recently I pulled a painting done at Bodega Bay last year during a trip with Howard Rees and artist friends.  The picture was pretty dull and my inclination was to try my usual repairs.  I wanted to put in some clearer, cleaner lights on the pathway and for some reason I decided to lay in the color with my palette knife.  I've done this on a few other paintings, but to a pretty limited extent.  As I began, I was pleased with the strong clean color and I found myself moving to other areas of the painting.  I decided to emphasize the rough craggy nature of the rock on the left and the knife strokes did that well, while at the same time introducing some streaks of color that added interest and broke up the monotony.  In the trees, I found the knife to be perfect in creating some 'accidents' of light and color that added a lot of interest and energy particularly in the trucks.  Finally the knife work in the foreground created texture and interesting color splashes.  Overall, I felt that the original painting had been transformed from a dull and ordinary oil into something that almost sparkles.  I want to try palette knife painting again soon.  I love the clean colors and sharp edges that are possible.

1 comment :

  1. I remember the original and thought it was a nice painting but I love this one. Great job!