Thursday, May 19, 2016

Plein-Air Painting Mistakes

Skunk River 11x11 pastel on paper
Plein air painting is not for the weak. Seriously, I had to fight off so many spiders today and even had to call in for reinforcements. A few bees were buzzing around and the gnats were swarming. I don't think a finished painting ever tells the whole story. If it did we'd be putting ourselves in the painting with squinty eyes and flailing arms, sunburns and sweaty brows. That's all part of being "the man behind the curtain". FYI, only the male painters have sweaty brows, girls don't sweat.
I went out painting with a small group today. After a delicious lunch and great conversation we spread out along the bank of the Skunk River. Choosing what to paint here is difficult to say the least. Every view and every angle there's something that's paintable. As I was contemplating what to paint and struggling with my decision I was reminded of something my friend David Garrison shared with me, his list of Ten Common Mistakes Made By Beginning Plein-Air Painters. Now this is the ten common mistakes, trust me, there's more than ten and my count is still going. Unfortunately as I was trying to remember this list the only thing I could remember was the part about not having enough wine. Unfortunately I didn't have any wine with me so I failed miserably at that, but I went home with two paintings that may not be masterpieces but I learned plenty from them.
Pile of rocks in the water 4x10 watercolour on paper


  1. Actually those rocks are kind of nice - both are within shooting range of really good pictures. Does David really paint with wine? I had an unopened bottle of Hendricks in the trunk but I don't think it would have improved the comp on my effort.

    1. Yea, I've painted and drank wine with him. It helps the sting when I look at his painting next to mine. I'll make sure to keep limes in my car from now on.