I am currently working on a 48x48 painting, which is rather large for me. When I started it, I realized why I tend to paint smaller...I am 5’4” (almost). I either need to use a ladder or a very long brush! The significance of this large, soon-to-be painting is that I am working from a study that I don’t consider a masterpiece.
When painting outside, I try to take the pressure off myself. Instead of starting with the hopes of “nailing it”, I draw more on the happiness I experience when I’m outdoors and just try to capture what I am feeling in the moment. This fuels exploration and growth, and the take-away is a painting always created in joy. So, when I use plein air studies for reference, I rarely start with the premise that the painting is perfection and boy-o-boy it’s going to be awesome in a large format. I simply use plein air studies to expand and continue an idea.
In this smaller plein air study, I am really drawn to the upper left corner, where the water in the distance and the top of the hotel (Island Inn on Monhegan) are peaking out behind the trees. That aspect was what drew me to the scene in the first place. In the larger painting, I have added some of the houses in the foreground (using photo reference with an alternative view) to create additional lead-in to the hotel and water. I am looking forward to getting color on this big guy and seeing where I can take it.
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