Getting Back Into Plein Air Painting

I just met a woman who is also a painter, and she lives only about a mile away.  We have gone painting a couple of times, and having a painting buddy is very motivating to get me painting more regularly.

For the past several years, I had gotten more in the habit of studio painting, and was doing little painting on location.  However,  I need the challenge of painting a scene on the spot, and knowing that I have to get it down quickly, because the light changes so fast.

Jane and I painted in south St Louis at the corner of Loughborough and Field.  There is a quaint old brick house at the corner, with some whimsical trees, and stepping stones laid around.  I think these types of properties are so much more pretty and interesting that a perfectly manicured new home with that sterile, plastic look to it.  I love the weathered, irregular look.  It tells a story, and I can feel the history that happened here.

So I was very drawn to the two trees with the colorful autumn leaves still clinging to them, even into December, since we’ve had such a mild autumn.  I love the contrast between the bright colors of the leaves with the bluish grayness of the neighbor’s house behind it.  I also like the contrast of the straight lines of the houses with the sinuous, twisting lines of the trees that almost seem to be dancing.

To be honest, I had a hard time with this painting.  My heavy, bulky coat managed to knock one of my pastel trays onto the ground, spilling them all over.  I also didn’t simplify the scene at first, and tried to include too many elements.  I messed up the sky, and had to remove it, and redo it.  I tried to soften the pastel marks of the left tree, and ended up with a muddy mess. At one point, I was so frustrated I considering giving up on it.  Thankfully, I calmed myself down, and just went on trying to rescue it.  It came out better than I anticipated.  Here is the listing in my online store.

last-holdouts
Last Holdouts, pastel, 15 1/2″ x 10 1/2″
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2 thoughts on “Getting Back Into Plein Air Painting

  1. Oh the trials and joy of plein air painting. Every thing you said in this post resonates within me. I have been painting plein air for many, many years and it always seems to be something struggle to with when I go out to paint. I like the fact that you pushed through those initial feelings because that is exactly how you do it. Bravo! Beautiful fall/winter colors in your painting.

    Like

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