When my sister looked at the original version of this painting (posted here) she told me her eye kept going to the bright area in the upper right. There was a lot that was distracting in that image, and I thought the ground was too dark and the two little patches of flowers on opposite sides of the path were distracting too. But now maybe I lost some of the sunshine by lightening the ground and darkening that corner? (see original below)
So it was back to the drawing board…er easel. I spent some more time working on it and I think it’s done now. Which do you like better? Or do you think the revised version needs more work and if so what?
Yesterday I was out plein air painting in the funky little town of Port Costa, and because I was painting buildings, spent more time drawing than painting to get the perspective right. (Which makes me realize I need to add one more point to my How to Oil Paint Plein Air List: # 5. “Get the drawing right!”). Today I tried to (but didn’t quite ) finish it. While I used to often spend a month or more completing a watercolor painting, for some reason I have the idea that an oil painting should be finished more quickly, like in one session.
Perhaps what bothers me is that when I paint plein air I work small, using a 9×12″ panel. It seems like a waste of time to work such a small painting for days afterward, putting in lots of details (because I like details, darn it, even though plein air oil paintings are supposed to be simplified).
Maybe the trick is to paint the plein air painting as a simplified field study and then if I like it, if it has life and soul and the subject still interests me, grab a bigger canvas and paint big where I can really get into things like reflections in windows and other crunchy details, instead of continuing to work on the study.
But for now, it’s back to overworking yesterday’s study since I just scraped off the bottom 1/4 of the painting and need to redo it before the paint dries.