Thursday, July 30, 2015

Day 6 - Forty Paintings in Forty Days

The only way I could contend with the parking situation at the location I wanted to paint was to arrive early. Very early- 5:00am and sunrise wasn't until 5:43. It was still kinda dark as I began setting up my easel.

I wanted to capture that faint, gingerly light that first casts itself over the barn area. Doable since it was another humid day and the sun was hazy behind a thin veil of clouds. My scene is still in shadow with a creeping, subdued light to the right.
Four Pines, 11"x14", oil on panel (sold)
This is Barn 49, Michael Trombetta's barn. Michael is a Maryland-based trainer who consistently finishes close to the top of the trainer's standing every year. He sent up a small string in the care of some very capable help. A young man named William is the hotwalker who I tried to depict and he is over six feet tall. Patient and gentle with his horses, he displayed some excellent horsemanship even when a filly went ballistic while being bitten by a fly.

Here's what I've learned so far for every day I've plein air painted the barn area.
  1. If I made four hundred paintings instead of forty, I would still never run out of inspiring subject matter here on the backside.
  2. Pay attention when closing the top of the brush cleaner. It will pinch the bejeebers out of a finger and neatly slice skin now requiring bandaids for the rest of the week.
  3. There is a little know-it-all voice in my head that says things like "don't fool with this", "I told you to leave it alone", "now you've made a mess" "oh great, go back and fix it".
  4. I really can paint from memory. As a life-long studio painter who utilizes all manner of reference material, this was a wonderful revelation. What a good exercise for keeping the ol' noggin' sharp.
  5. I'm very pleased with the enthusiastic response I've received. People are very curious about what I'm doing and are supportive and encouraging. They think I'm nuts, but they're intrigued.
  6. There is no substitute for painting from life. None. No photograph can provide the amount of information that a set of eyes can see. I'm becoming an obsessive convert.
I want you to know that I'm baring my artistic soul here. I'm a newbie at this plein air painting and there are days when I struggle. There will be some paintings that I probably shouldn't post but maybe you can take something from my mistakes as I know I'm learning every day. At the end of the forty days, I will be a different painter.

With all sincerity,

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