Sunday, August 31, 2014

"Rocky Cove", 16x20 , oil on canvas, Cape Ann paintings, seascapes, Rockport, Massachusetts, Impressionism, rocks, Atlantic, Maryanne Jacobsen art

"Rocky Cove", 16x20 , oil on canvas

Sometimes I enjoy painting a scene so much that I can't wait to try it again! In this case, it was the scene overlooking Gap Cove in Rockport that I wanted to try again. I painted it en plein air when I was there a couple weeks ago, and so the scene was fresh in my mind.

Once again I decided to make the pretty house on Gap Head Road my focal point, and I decided to define the rocks a little more carefully than I had done the first time.

I will concede that painting en plein air is challenging because you must work very fast to capture the elements, and retain the original concept even as the light is changing. The benefit, however, is that the artist does not have a chance to mull over decisions regarding color mixing, value, composition- anything! You either nail it or you don't! That is why plein air work can either look incredibly fresh and spontaneous, or else be a disaster!

In the case of the painting that I did that day, I was very happy with it, so I thought it would be fun to try a bigger version. What I noticed was that I found myself overthinking decisions that I had made instantaneously the first time I'd painted the scene. I found myself playing around with the greenery in the foreground to the extent that it made the foliage seem more strained and conspicuous than the first time I'd painted it. I also had too many color choices, whereby I had substantially  limited my palette when I'd painted it that day on location.

In short, I have slowly but surely become an avid proponent of plein air painting, as a result of understanding its benefits. It has taken me 6 years to get comfortable with painting on location, and I will admit that once you get there, painting in the studio is always a little bit of a disappointment. Without the sound of the seagulls screeching in the background, and the waves lapping the rocks, the music that I normally play while painting didn't quite do it for me any more. Without the warm sun playing over my shoulders and the crisp blue sky above me, the mixture of light sources in the studio become almost confusing.

In short, although I was somewhat happy with this painting, I know the first painting was better even though it only took me one hour and this one took me 5 hours. I can't wait until the heat of this Florida summer breaks somewhat, so I can get back outdoors and paint another tiny piece of  God's glorious creation. Thanks for reading.

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