Just back from a painting trip in Asheville, NC. It had been a while since I painted outside because of the heat. It was still hot there, but boy-o-boy it felt good to get outside!
This was the first painting I did on a muggy morning, one of those times when the sun goes in…and out…and in…and out…and then in. Initially, I had been excited about the shadows on the chicken coop but alas, they went away. Such changing variables can really have you chasing your tail!
My strategy for painting in such conditions is to take a mental snapshot of what kind of light attracted me to the scene in the first place, and then proceed to create art instead of trying to copy what I see. I take liberties with composition and push color when it lends to a more interpretive expression of what I am seeing. I also use brushstrokes in varying thickness and direction to create energy and movement in what is otherwise a static scene.
I’ve included pictures of the actual scene in it’s varied light as well as the “finished” painting (a sketch has charm because of it’s truth, right?). Notice there are no chickens in the photo. They were behind the fence on the other side of the coop…but I was too short to see over it so I had to improvise!
This particular morning got me thinking that reality is just a starting point in impressionist painting. I suggest spending the majority of your painting time tapping into your creativity and imagination rather than trying to copy and perfect. That’s when the fun begins, in my humble opinion.
“We must not imitate the externals of nature with so much fidelity that the picture fails to evoke that wonderful teasing recurrence of emotion that marks the contemplation of a work of art”~John F. Carlson