On November 3 I went to Viansa Winery in Sonoma County with my plein air painting group. It’s a beautiful estate in the wine country with wonderful views in every direction. I painted the first layer of this painting on site and then today at home I painted another layer, correcting the original plein air sketch. I set my timer for one hour and completely redid the whole painting in about 45 minutes. Then I had dinner and when I came back I forgot my plan to do a one-hour painting and spent another two hours fiddling around with stuff I could have left alone.
As Karen suggested in her comment here a couple days ago, it’s good to focus on one goal per painting. I did that with this painting. My goal was to create a sense of distance, and I think I accomplished that. (Yay!) What’s interesting is that even though it’s only been three weeks since I started this painting, I see how much I’ve learned just in that short time…or maybe how much of what I’ve learned in the past year is starting to sink in and take hold. The on-site painting was out of proportion and very flat–no sense of depth or distance. But it was colorful which was my focus on that day — getting some color into my painting.
As I worked on this tonight I was thinking about two things my teacher recently pointed out to me that applied to the problems I’d had with this painting:
- Paint the dog before the fleas (in other words, get the big shapes in before starting on the little details)
- When you have man-made objects in a painting, such as buildings or fences, they have to be the right size or the whole painting will look wrong because we know what the object is and what it’s size is.
Here’s the photo I took of the scene:
In the original version I got really involved in painting the little building in the front left and the bigger one halfway back on the right. But I’d made them bigger than they should have been so I could paint the details. And they were definitely the fleas, not the dog!