Sausalito Harbor

Last week I met an old CNET friend for lunch in Sausalito (@Fish), and since I had the morning open I brought my plein air kit to paint a bit.  I’ve been painting in my studio lately because my next “big goal” is to scale my work up.  Paining this reminded me of what I like about plein air painting: the immediacy, fresh, no-fuss impression. Keeps me loose. I suppose the best way to grow is to continue to mix plein air, ala prima and studio and try to find the right balance.

I am having a lot of trouble painting larger works. Technically, I have to get used to painting on dry (or semi-dry) surfaces, but mentally, it’s difficult for me to sustain the emotional energy I expend on small works.  Have you faced these kinds of challenges?  How have you made this transition?

Sausalito Harbor, Oil on Canvas, 8x10
Sausalito Harbor, Oil on Canvas, 8x10


One thought on “Sausalito Harbor”

  1. One solution I’ve discovered that works for me personally is to not work on a piece exclusively in the studio. That is, I’ll start a large piece in the field and take it as far as I can. Then, I’ll take it to the studio to finish it up. I’ll spend considerable time doing so – working from reference photos I’ve shot, scraping out passages, etc. The energy I felt in the field really carries through to the studio when I do it this way. As for working on a piece exclusively in the studio, that’s a lot harder, and I haven’t found a solution that totally works. What I do is try to treat it like a plein air piece – large brush, big strokes, with a time limit. Even the big ones.

    As for the dry surface, I find I’m enjoying that. You can add a medium to that will slow the drying time so it stays wet for days, but I do like the broken brush strokes I get when laying fresh paint down over dry. (I’ll squirt a bit of retouch varnish on the surface first so I can see the colors of the old paint better.)

    Carry on! I like your recent work quite a bit.

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