Conditions were still perfect when I arrived home, but by the time I got upstairs and was just ready to load up... the sun disappeared for the remainder of the day. What replaced it was that flat... uninteresting blah condition where neither shadows... contours are registered anywhere in the landscape. Disappointing... but I decided to have a go at the scene in the studio. At least the image was fresh in my memory and the desire to paint it was still strong.
Lighting flattened out... leaving less than stimulating scene
I had decided upon a vertical format to give a strong sense of depth to the painting. The composition would be strengthened by that format as well. I quickly laid in a rough drawing using an ultramarine blue with alizarin to create dark outline. I focused upon the spatial divisions of the shoreline and the islands. The docks added some diagonal interest. I then moved to the painting part... and that was when the wheels seem to fall off the wagon. From that point on everything I tried to do seem to go awry. It climaxed when the panel fell off the easel and flush against my navy shirt... leaving quite mess and smudged areas on the painting. Needless to say, I felt discouraged and deflated... even considered "scrubbing it"... something I very rarely find necessary.
It was a great time to take an early lunch and I did... glad to be away from it. I even prolonged the away time by preparing the evening meal, just to avoid going back down there. I finally garnered enough gumption to head back down and I simply bit in... and decided to push through, irregardless of the outcome. Within a few minutes, the Flow returned and pushed through to the end. I feel the essence of the subject is intact, as is my feeling of not being beaten. The painting, I will admit could be stronger... perhaps in a larger format... on a better day! We'll see.
When searching for winter subjects, one of the common complaints of so many artists is that there is too much white. Similarly, they complain about ... deride and avoid the summer greens - too much green! My strategy for both situations is the same. I look for buildings usually which sharply contrast whatever i=s missing ion the season. Red works for me in both situations and I use it often to create warmth and high colour interest. I even heighten its chroma... to exaggerate its presence.
The other strategy I often use ... is to swing the light and use it dramatically in whatever way I wish to use it for dramatic effect. One must have had some considerable outdoor experience to accomplish that. Seeing certain lighting creates a long term visual bank of information, which can be drawn upon whenever it seems appropriate. Given the total lack of such lighting, I employed that strategy in this case. I will post the digital reference for comparison.. You be the judge... whether it works.
"A Long Portage to Spring, Ivy Lea" - oil on panel 10x 8 inches
Seeing and using red en plein air is a sound strategy, "Seeing red"... and having a "hissy fit" does nothing to encourage your creative spirit to perform. Best take a breather... go for a walk... have a sandwich or coffee... and return when your blood pressure drops to normal! Change the tempo... HA HA!!!
Good Painting!... to ALL!!!