Another day, another lesson.

Jesus, I'm a slow learner. I've spent the better part of my fine art career treating all of my plein air paintings as if they were the final thing, always going for a finished painting. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just that once the painting goes into a frame and (hopefully) sells or goes off to a gallery for storage, it's gone and can be of no further use to me. I've witnessed the likes of Scott Christensen, John Burton and Jesse Powell do the other thing, that is, use the outdoor studies only as reference for bigger paintings, but I have never really done it myself. The idea is that by using the studies as reference for a large final piece, you allow for another level of interpretation, no longer being tied to the exact reality of the scene. Sure I interpret some on site but, for the most part, I'm trying to get that exact thing before me and sometimes the paintings just turn into renderings and lose that je ne c'est qoui that real art is supposed to have.

As it turns out, I have an upcoming show with Pap-se at the Huntsville Museum of art called "A sense of place" where we are supposed to have finished paintings inspired, influenced or informed by some of our plein air studies. So I've started trying something new(ish), I'm taking some of the remaining studies I have lying around and doing compositional ideas in sketch form (see above), moving on to small 5x5 color studies on taped off canvas and then on to larger versions from parts of the studies. It's so funny that as an illustrator I completely made everything up, maybe I'd find a face to use or a figure from some clip in the morgue files, but for the most part I just made everything up and the difference is huge. I still have the illustration site here if you are at all interested. It's a whole different look and it's because I interpreted heavily and also used different mediums like acrylic, pastel and gouache. Each medium taking the work in a whole different direction. I did 8 quick little paintings (super fun) from my sketches and the original painting reference (see below). Two smallish paintings, one was a demo from this year and one I did in a Scott C workshop some 15 or 20 years back. Damn how time flies. The other peculiar thing is noticing how similar the two paintings are, it's almost hard to tell which one was done long ago and which one was done recently. Grist for another blog I suppose. I'll put up the final paintings once I have something worth looking at.