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Plein Air Painting – Practice Pays Off

Oil painting of the mansion at Eden Gardens State Park, behind the reflecting pool and a huge live oak treeLast weekend I painted a community street scene in the studio, using photo references, after attempting it plein air.  The architecture was filled with straight lines, which are a torture for a freehand painter.  I can fudge and fake the branches in a bush, but architectural lines for the most part look right only when placed nearly exactly where they in fact are.  So the painting of the street scene was a serious challenge for me.

But the practice served me well when I painted today, making the straight lines of today’s structure seem like child’s play by comparison.  I was in fact surprised at how quickly I was able to make an effective representation of this mansion at Eden Gardens State Park where the plein air painters met this morning.

The light was peaking in and out of the clouds, and when it peaked out, the building and middle ground lit up with vibrant color and the huge oak in the foreground became a stark silhouette.

Next week I travel to Colorado to visit family and to play in the snow in the mountains.  I will take my  camera and some paints with me.

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