In the last several years I felt my work had been improving in many ways because I had begun to see a polishing of color and medium handling, but there was a tension and tightness that was holding my work back. I thought maybe quick studies would help me loosen up but I wasn’t sure how to do them, really. I just tried to work faster and simpler. Last year I had done a couple quick studies while we were set up in living history camps and felt like they helped.
One of the artists I met in Kalamazoo spent some time in my booth talking about my work and gave me some good advice. He asked me if I had tried Plein Aire and I told him I had, a couple of times, but really didn’t feel like I had figured it out yet. He proceeded to give me some tips and tricks on paint handling, color, contrast and materials. He got tough, in a kind, mentoring way, and told me to use bigger brushes. There were quite a few other valuable pointers that I absorbed happily and took home to process over these last couple days.
The painting here is the first practicing byproduct of that processing. BIGGER brushes. I started with a darker ground and painted with a one inch brush. It was actually hard, and fun, and exciting. There is still a long evolution ahead of me but I can foresee a point in the future when I blend the looseness of Plein Aire with the detail of illustration.
This will be a process of self discovery that should be fun and fruitful If you have a mind to, check back and see where this walk takes me.