Hi all. Today’s post is on the value of perseverance with plein air watercolor. Last Friday morning the group went out to a part of the trail along the Rio Grande in the upper valley, and it was beautiful….that is until the wind kicked up! I’m not as excited about landscapes as I am detail work of flowers, seedpods, etc. so I almost thought…oh I won’t paint here today. There’s nothing that interests me. But I thought to myself, you should be able to find something to paint anywhere, just settle down Rachel!
Ref photo for Rio Grande trail
I thought the path had neat shapes and would draw you into the painting, and I liked the morning shadows, so I set up on the path, and had an idea on how neat I hoped the front salt cedar bush would be wet in wet. Well, the wind had other ideas. As I got some of the darks in wet and was trying to charge in other colors the wind grew fierce and it all dried much too quickly. But I kept working and liked the rest of it.
I let it sit for several days contemplating how/if I could fix it and would it be worth it. I didn’t wan to overwork it, but decided it was worth the effort to learn how. I moistened the bush and charged in other darks, letting colors mingle on the paper and strengthened the shadows across the path and lifted out some for texture. After another day I thought I’d add the figure walking the dog since there were bikers and dog walkers up and down that day. It was delightful to speak to them while painting and hear their reactions to the piece.
So that’s my story for today. What I’ve learned from this and from working on other plein air paintings to finish is, whether or not the finished painting has merit, there’s always something to learn and to hopefully to better on the first go, the next time!