Only two of us showed up to paint at Lake Anza in Tilden Park on an almost-drizzly, grey Monday morning last month. The air smelled fresh and clean and it was so quiet there; a wonderful change from the noise of the city just a few miles away.
I painted most of this onsite, with some corrections and clean up later in the studio from the photo below.
One of the corrections I made was to the little clumps of marsh grasses on the other side of the lake (barely visible in the revised painting). They had been my focal point but I realized when I got home and looked at the photo that I had made them three times bigger than they should have been.
Yesterday I was painting in Sonoma and saw the same problem when I got home: I painted some distant trees way bigger than they should be. It’s interesting to me how as I focus on one element of painting and begin to improve it (like composition, values, color, etc.), I discover another area needing work. Next time I’ll pay attention to measuring/comparing sizes of the things in the painting.
While I’m still miles of canvas away from mastering plein air painting, at least I am beginning to grasp the principles and see that while there are many important concepts to consider out there, the list isn’t endless (as it once seemed). Maybe eventually it will become more automatic like driving; I’ll still have to pay attention and keep my eyes on the “road,” but I won’t be driving over curbs, crashing into things, or totaling my car/canvas.