Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Dune Flowers

Dune Flowers, 9x12" oil, ©Diane Mannion

While I Was Painting

Sat on the beach for an hour early in the morning and painted a little study for this.  Loved the shadows and color but a phone call ended my session.  Painted the larger version in the studio using a lot of color information from the quick study, colors that my camera could not see.  

This is a new approach to plein air painting for me... I usually finish on location.  (All that practice getting ready for two hour quick paint challenges).  Instead, I'm changing the way I work, rather than finishing a painting on the spot, I'm gathering field studies and sketches for larger works.  

It's a relief knowing I'm only a hunter-gatherer of information for later work.  And working more in the studio has made me aware of the information I need to collect for larger paintings when I'm in front of the real thing.  Working in the studio also makes me realize how important it is to get outside and work from life.

The result of this new approach has been for me to slow down.   There's a tendency for a lot of plein air artists to work fast and loose and get locked into a plein air "style."  Although I like how my "style" looks in studies, I want my work to evolve to a more considered and polished level.  Artists should never stop growing, anyway!
Here's the one hour field study for Dune Flowers.
Dune Flowers Study, 4x8" oil, plein air, ©Diane Mannion

My friend, Sharon Yarbrough sent me this quote that says it all!

Plein-air paintings are life, and without them the rest of my work would die. Without it, I would have nothing to say in the studio, because without real-life experience, art is impossible. (Scott Burdick)

The phone call that ended this painting session was of the sudden, instant, and unexpected death of my husband's friend.  Although I hadn't met him yet, he had agreed to let me paint him sitting on the beach.  The painting would have been Summer Santa.  During the holidays, he worked as Mr Claus.  

While I was painting...

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