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


1 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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