Saturday, May 7, 2011

Eco Reserve Spring

oil on Raymar canvas panel 8x8 inches

Yesterday's plein air day with Lisa McDill was held at the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve in Murrieta, a beautiful place for hiking and painting. The day was perfect...breezy and in the mid 80's, and we crossed paths with only one snake! :-) The dark trunk of this tree and colorful grasses caught my eye. I set up next to a tree for shade and a wind block. I had a blast! It all seemed easier after Lisa's great demo, and with her advice along the way. The words I'll remember most are, "Now stop....THINK!" I tend to plow forward sometimes counting on instinct or luck! Up top is the finished painting. Below is a view of the scene (slightly different vantage point) and the painting before I made some changes.

That big ugly dark shape is right in the middle of the canvas. I added some mid-values to break it up and alter the shape. I took out some wildflower dots to simplify the foreground. The distant pointy trees on the left are distracting. I simplified the outline. I'm making progress with plein air. Can't wait to go again!


  1. I can see how the changes made a big difference. After changing the trees in the background, there is a real "distance" feel to the scene. Love the softness of the colors and the loose brush strokes. Beautiful plein air piece!

  2. The painting is way prettier than the reference photo! I don't think I could have looked at that scene and made anything out of it. I loved that you showed how you made changes to the painting. Very nice!

  3. I really appreciate the photo, painting in progress and the finished painting! You are a true teacher and your work and the blog are more than "pretty paintings"....they are inspiring and educational. Thank You!
    Happy Mother's Day!

  4. This is beautiful! I've been dying to try plein air and looking at your paintings is making me want to try it even more.

  5. I really like your interpretation of this landscape.


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