This week I’ve been busy either painting plein air or finishing paintings that were started outside in preparation for an upcoming show. The Plein Air Painters of El Paso group that I joined in spring has a show next month, and the stipulation is that the paintings have to be started plein air. Well, let me tell you, this is a great incentive to finish paintings that I started on site and didn’t know either where to go with them, or thought they didn’t turn out well (so frankly there’s no harm in trying to fix them!)
Either way, the process of committing to taking a painting from “what could be” to a finished product, whether good or bad, is all LEARNING….so it’s all good.
This is a painting that I was kind of happy with when I came home, but didn’t know where to take it. I talked it over with my teacher, Oween, and we discussed perhaps a unifying shadow along the bottom left that would balance out the bottom right shapes. What bothered me was the diagonal lines that seemed to all point to the left corner. I thought softening some lower points or edges might help along with the shadow.
She also suggested softening some edges, that not all had to be hard lines, and a new friend at the New Mexico Watercolor Society tea suggested ranges behind in the distance which were kind of suggested already. Both of the ideas were good ones — it’s great to take works in progress and consider suggestions from other painters — I highly recommend it.
When I got into adjusting the painting I found that I enjoyed putting in other plant growth, suggesting other sharp rock edges, putting in the far mountains, and generally I think the changes helped keep your eye inside the painting. I lightened up some edges to suggest sun hitting the mountains in various places.
What do you think? Click on the photo to see it larger and let me know what you like or what bothers you.
I’m calling it Balcony View because it was painted from a fifth floor balcony of the Fairmont Building near downtown. The balcony wrapped around the building so some of the painters were doing a downtown view, and others were on the mountain side with me. If you can come to the show, you may see other views.
The show is called “Out and About in El Paso” and runs from May 4-June 29 at the Sunland Art Gallery, Placita Santa Fe on Doniphan St, El Paso. To learn more about the show, check out the Plein Air Painters website. I will have four pieces in the show and will blog about them in future posts. Stay tuned!