Lessons Learned On Location

5:42 PM

Brandon Parkway
Watercolor and Carbon Black Ink
8.25 x 3.5 inches
Another title for this post could easily be "What Makes a Painting Successful?"

What makes a painting successful is sometimes (usually?) beyond the obvious. Most of us consider a "pretty picture" to be a successful page, but what about all those "all most, not quite" practice pages we do? Do they count?

I consider the page above a success, and you may be thinking "she's losing it if she thinks that's a successful painting." And that's okay. Because you can't "see" my goals for this piece.

I am NOT a landscape painter, but I have hopes of one day mastering this genre. When I left the house this morning to go out and sketch, I had a TOTALLY different image in my head. One that was loose and charming with just the right touch of detail.

And then I arrived on location and got busy.

And.....failed. On the first goal anyway. This sketch is not loose nor charming. It is an improvement over this image (third shot down) of a lake not too far away. This image is not as overworked and muddy. I actually managed to leave a couple of areas alone rather than "fix" them.

The things I learned are:

  • Next time, take the stool. Even if I don't think I'll need it, I will. I have no problem sitting on the ground. I do, however, dislike ants. Ants crawling on me. Ants biting. Enough said. 
  • I wore a hat to help shade my eyes from the bright sunshine. So why then did I take a shiny, chrome document clip to hold the pages of my sketchbook open? I will be swapping that out for flat black. Unless I need to use the shiny clip for mirror signaling. I could get lost, you know!
  • It's best to take the tissue out of the package before I need it.
  • Use of black ink helped this sketch tremendously. In fact, it wouldn't have made prime time without the ink. 
  • I have recently started wearing a white sweat band on my wrist to wipe my paint on when I'm on location. It makes life a little easier. I don't have to hang on to the paper towel. Unless I happen not to have my wrist band and decide to use my wrist anyway. (It must have looked pretty bad because the guy at the deli told me where the ladies room was—without me asking!)
  • If it's working, leave it alone. There wasn't a cloud in the sky today, but since the sky kinda worked in this, I decided to leave well enough alone. Oh, and there wasn't a hill either. 
Goals for next time...no shiny clips, a wrist band, loose and charming, more variation in the greens and no mud...

Piece a' cake!

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