Friday, November 08, 2013
Plein air versus studio! "Country Road, Take me Home", 9x12, oil on linen
I decided to take my plein air painting of the "Cornfields at Granogue", and use that and my reference photo to conduct a little experiment.
Over the years, many collectors have fallen in love with my work, as a result of the colors and palette knife work that I used in my first few years of painting. Over the past few years, however, I have moved more towards the representational, replacing many of my fauvist colors with colors that more accurately describe the subject at hand. I also began favoring more brushwork in my paintings, as I felt there were more ways to be descriptive with a brush, while the palette knife limits how you can render certain subjects, like clouds or cotton.
So today I decided to recreate the "Cornfields at Granogue", using a palette knife and the palette of colors that I used to use exclusively- which is after the Cape Cod School or Hensche method. This was my reference photo:
I think the thing that hampered this experiment of "which is better", is the fact that the first painting was exclusively plein air- it was finished on site and therefore had more immediacy and freshness to it than the studio as piece, as well as truer color.
On the other hand, I was able to be more thoughtful about the trees in the background in the studio piece and they are probably more accurate than the plein air painting for the simple reason that by the time I got to them that day the light had changed dramatically.
The cornstalks in the foreground were definitely in shadow when I began the painting that morning. Yet I was aware that I was starting to "Chase the light" by the end of the 2 hour session, adding more and more light to those foreground cornstalks and thus rendering the light direction confusing.
So overall, both methods of working have their pros and cons, with different results and I feel that this was a good experiment in thinking about things that will help me paint better in the future.
Would love to hear your comments on which of the two paintings you like better and why!
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