Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Showers Over Lone Pine

Showers Over Lone Pine - 9" x 12" - Oil by Greg Newbold
Here is another painting that I finished up for my recent show. This one was painted in the Owen's Valley of California while on a trip with painter friends Richard Hull and John Berry.  When we took the trip a few years back, I really didn't feel like I had a grip on outdoor painting at the time. I was a relative newbie to plein air painting and it was my first extended painting trip. Not that I am now some sort of expert, but I feel a certain comfort level now that did not exist at all then. Most of the paintings I did on that trip seemed to be failures in the moment and many sat in a pile of rejects for a long time. One by one, I have pulled them back out and evaluated what was missing or what aspect could be fixed or improved to give the picture a finished feel. I am neither a good enough painter nor a purist enough to consider my field studies finished when they go from the easel to the carry box, hence I am not averse to painting back into them in the studio. For this one, I was startled at how close it was to being decent simply by glazing over the whole thing with some medium. That simple step popped the contrasts and bled life back into the color. It took me a few hours of applying cleaner color and more texture here or a bit of a glaze and scrub there to really bring this one around, but I am happy with the result now. What I have learned from hours in the field is that the essence captured in a plein air study painted from direct observation is much more powerful than anything I can get from a photo. I used the photo reference I took that day to inform me on detail and value much more than I used it for color as the color notes painted from life were much more interesting and felt more honest. I try to tap into my memories of being in the field even when I paint from photos. This one is still available for anyone interested.

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