Sunday, April 11, 2010

From Plein Air to Studio

One of the things I've been working on is the processes of using plein air pieces as source material for larger studio paintings.

Today I completed framing a series of pieces all different interpretations of the same scene. I'm staging for a number of shows. These pieces are all about to go off their separate ways to different venues and it struck me they are interesting as a series.
I figured I could publish them here as a grouping as well as talking about the process. Here goes ...

This is a photo of the original scene.

Not a great photo - is it? It's actually hard to discern the main tree that I choose as my subject and I find the photo somewhat uninspiring. If someone had handed me the photo I never would have chosen it as a subject for a painting. This is not an uncommon experience as often photos can't capture the beauty of a scene.

Here's the first 9x12 painting I did on location:

"Softly Lit Afternoon"

A few months later I returned and did another painting on location of the same scene:

"Arching for Sun"

Then recently I did a larger 18x24 in the studio using these two plein air pieces and my memory as the only source material (if I had looked at the photo I probably would have lost all my inspiration to paint :-).

"Basking in the Sun"

I didn't even think about the evolution of the the paintings or the extent they incrementally deviated from the photo reference until I saw them all together today. I guess you'd call it natural evolution?


  1. sorry I must say other thing... also, i like your interpretation of this three, and how you have put in the green. really goog works

  2. Thanks for the feedback. Green can really be a problem in landscapes because it can become so overwhelming. I try to avoid using any green until the last stages of most paintings to try to keep it under control.