A few weeks ago my plein air group met on a blistering hot day at a little shadeless park alongside a marsh that was right next to the noisy highway and a block from an upscale shopping center (Village Shopping Center in Corte Madera). Some watercolorists in the group set up at the shopping center but were kicked out for taking up outdoor tables meant for food court customers.
I was tempted to leave. The scene didn’t appeal to me, I was tired, it was hot, there was no shade or other facilities and the noise of the traffic was terrible. But I decided to give it a shot, and of course, as I started drawing I got more enthusiastic (“such cute hills” I said to myself, and listening to music with headphones helped block out the highway noise.
I stopped taking photos after the one below because I was trying to finish quickly as the temperature kept climbing. I nearly completed the painting on site before I started feeling like I was getting sunstroke and had to pack up and head home, without even waiting for the critique.
I worked from the reference photo a bit in the studio but then just started addressing the painting’s needs instead of what was in the photo. I tried not to mess with the hills and trees that I’d painted on site because I liked the way they were loosely painted in.