This oil landscape painting started as a poorly drawn, wrongly colored plein air painting which I’ve reworked many times until I am now finally ready to call it done. The painting started on a hot September day when I dragged my painting gear up a trail and set up my easel amidst dried cow pies and weeds near the Bull Valley Staging Area above the hills of Crockett. You can see my learning process below.
First, here is the washed-out reference photo I had to work from back in the studio. It’s really not even an interesting scene and doesn’t at all capture the way the hills were glowing a brilliant end of summer California gold.
Mt. Tam was far in the distance, not gigantic as I drew it on my canvas below. I’ve since learned to measure and compare the size of things in the distance since I have a tendency to make them huge.
In the studio I tried adjusting the colors and contrast but only made it worse and where did those spring greens come from?
And then it got even worse:
Later I tried to fix the drawing and the composition and repainted the hills. Still wrong:
I let it sit for a couple of weeks, hoping I was done, since I was sick of it. But yesterday I decided to tackle it again, to try to get it to at least get the colors to say “hot, dry day,” to tweak the drawing, and to leave a few decent brush strokes instead of a chalky overworked surface.
All the above led to this painting, also at the top of the post. Done, moving on.
Is my persistence pointless? I’m not sure. Is it better to repaint one painting repeatedly or to paint numerous paintings once? I guess as long as I’m learning, it’s all good either way…and this way I have fewer bad paintings to throw away or store.