Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"After a Swim"

6x6" oil on Gessobord

Thanks for the thoughtful comments and emails yesterday. It seems a lot of us have similar feelings on the issue. For a different perspective check out Kathleen Dunphy's blog. She has a well written post on why she feels plein air painting is essential in achieving the results she's after. 


I gave some thought as to why my plein air paintings rarely worked out and concluded it was primarily due to poor composition. In my rush to get to work I usually made a quick decision about composition and then dove in. Why was I in a hurry? Well, chances are I'd already spent a lot of time driving around "in search of" so when I finally found something to paint I was in a panic to set up and capture the scene before the light changed.

Looking back at my early work it's clear that I should have spent less time driving around and more time developing my compositional skills. My time would have been better spent shooting a ton of digital images, downloading them and then experimenting with the cropping tool in iPhoto. That's mostly what I do now.

My sense of composition is constantly evolving. I look at both paintings and photographs for ideas and inspiration. One thing I've discovered is, if an image is strong as a thumbnail it'll usually make a good painting. That's just an observation, not a rule. There are no rules!!


Denise Rose said...

I struggle with the same thing outside but I am getting better at picking subjects faster and also composing better paintings faster too. It does take practice! But, as I commented on yesterday's post, I also enjoy playing with my photos too so it is a win-win situation for me no matter where I am painting!

LindaHunt said...

I enjoyed reading your post yesterday...I struggle with this issue myself...all of the comments were helpful and informative.

This lovely painting is so well composed and painted with great sensitivity.