So my intention was to do some Plein Air painting when Steph and I went to a cabin at Edwards Lake last week- a cabin owned by her aunt and cousins 45 minutes southwest of Fernie BC. We went out for a week but when we arrived, found it unseasonably cold which didn’t let up for all but the last day. Too cold to go out painting in fact so I reached for two photographs that I took while on some excursions over the past year. I have a thing for old buildings, and barns fall into that category. One was shot in Proctor BC, the other just north of Eureka Montana. As with all the things I take pictures of, they simply have to have “good bones” as I call it. Bits and pieces that create the recipe for a good composition and give me the best opportunity to make a good painting if I decide that’s where the photograph wants to go. Both these locations had “good bones”. Both wanted to be paintings.
After watching some painting videos by two of my favourite artists – Richard Schmid and John Crump, I was inspired to try painting in a looser, more painterly style, roughing in quickly and developing the painting evenly in each area. Darks first, then the rest, trying to stay loose – easier said than done. Each painting took about 4 hours for the initial round and when I decided I needed to stop. I took the canvases off the board – taped canvas sheets on Masonite – and taped them to the wall where I would look at them under varying lighting conditions and decide on what could be done to improve them. Each painting was placed on the operating table for about half an hour of extra work adding some highlights, re-working bird holes and adjusting some local color and tones.
These two paintings worked well for me. I learned a lot about staying loose although I realized after, that the detail still managed to find its way in. The foregrounds stayed loose and have the feel that I’m striving for. Still not sure about my trees. They still feel unresolved to me but better. A bit of a struggle as John Crump would say.