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Simplification in Plein Air

Oil painting of the pond by Clement Taylor Park, Destin, FL

The Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters met at Clement Taylor Park in Destin this morning.  Intending to get there around 8:30, I in fact arrived well after 9 and it was approaching 10 before I actually started putting paint on the canvas.  I put my easel near a pond at the side of the park, a short distance from where several other painters had set up.  Purple pond flowers attracted my attention and I thought about how I wanted to paint the background so that the flowers in the foreground would stand out.  I painted quickly, urged on by the noise of a landscape blower next door, as well as my concern for having arrived late.  I wanted to learn how to simplify, which I did by painting areas of color instead of every single leaf.  I purposefully left everything with softer edges, except for the water lilies which were in sharp contrast to the pond water.  But just like a couple weeks ago, when I drew close to the finish, my intended focus was no where to be found in my painting.  I decided to leave out the pond flowers I had wanted to emphasize.  The painting had a lot of visual texture, because of the high contrast of values in the leaves of the trees.  It would be difficult to make the pond flowers stand out against the darks and lights of the background.

Most of my paintings and images are available for purchase.  Contact me if you are interested. — Joan Vienot

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