When I brought home today’s plein air oil painting, I spent a few minutes messing with it, tried to fix it, and then just wiped it all off. Then I painted the scene in watercolor instead (above). I’m getting really frustrated with plein air oil painting and I’m starting to reconceptualize how I might approach plein air painting in the future.
I love being out in nature looking closely at it, and trying to capture it in paint. I also really like hiking in these beautiful parks. But when I paint with oils I focus on painting and then when I leave, I’m often envious of the people who hiked past me as I stood there in one spot.
My new idea is to bring my watercolors, sketchbook and my camera and spend half of the time walking and taking photos and the other half making watercolor sketches. Then I can use those studies, photos and my memory and experience of the place to either make larger watercolors or oil paintings in the studio.
I so admire people who can make beautiful oil paintings plein air. I know that there’s nothing that can compare to seeing color and light and painting it right in the midst of nature’s glory. But maybe it’s time to accept that it’s just not my forte and focus on the things that I both enjoy and can do with some modicum of success.