My full time teaching career has made it (thus far) impossible to paint plein air (outside, in front of the subject) very much, so I've developed the skills to interpret photographs well, compensating for the distortions and limitations of the digital image. However, I do believe that painting directly from the subject has merits, and teaches the painter things that are otherwise hard to gain. As well, I want to continue to build my skills in acrylic and water-soluble oils. Accordingly, I'm committing to a new project, the results of which will be posted to this site in a new gallery titled "plein air project." Each weekend, I will paint a 12" x12" panel, in either acrylic or oil, of the view of the small lake on our country property. I will spend no more than 1 hour on each piece. I'll paint whenever the view is appealing over the weekend, recording different times of day, weather conditions, seasonal changes, viewpoints, overviews and close-ups. I'll do at least 50 paintings over the year (allowing for occasional absence, illness, inhospitable weather etc.). These will be posted to the new gallery on this site, and each one will be priced at $100, plus shipping charges if applicable. The modest price reflects the fact that these will be essentially quick field studies as opposed to finished works, and their small size.
The tradition of painting the same scene repeatedly has many precedents. For example, the current issue of The Pastel Journal presents 100 paintings of the same imaginary scene created by Marla Bagetta. Artist Kevin McPherson also painted his pond repeatedly, over the course of a year, and presented his works in a book, REFLECTIONS ON A POND: AN EXPLORATORY SERIES ON LIGHT & ATMOSPHERE. I've also heard of an artist who paints a painting a day and auctions them on eBay. I'm hoping that by committing to this project, I'll build my plein air/painting skills and hone my observational skills by seeking out the nuances of the same scene throughout the year.
As a lifelong academic, I've always felt as if September started the new year, so I'm starting this project now rather than in January, and I completed my first study last weekend (on Sept 6). Here it is, below. From here on in, I'll be posting each week to the new gallery. I hope you'll drop in frequently to check on my progress! If you see something you'd like to buy--you know the price--email me to arrange delivery!