I had a rough time painting last week. Plein air season is upon us and I have been waiting with baited breath for the weather to cooperate so I'd have the opportunity to get outside again. But there are just some times when the odds seem stacked against me. Some of the prettiest, mildest days turned out to be mommy-duty days for me. My painting days were full of wind and intermittent clouds and showers. I did get myself outside but the wind and weather weren't cooperative and I ended up coming home with a couple of wipers. That's the risk of plein air painting. Just because you put in the time, it doesn't mean you will come home with a keeper. And with such limited time, it can be hard to justify the effort. So why do I do it? Well, it challenges me to think on my feet and be in the moment. It gets me out of my comfort zone, and when its not frustrating the hell out of me, it's pretty fun and exciting.
It also gets me jazzed for new paintings in the studio, which is what leads me to my current post. I started this piece after one of those frustrating wipers, and by comparison to my battle with the wind, it felt good to just paint! At this point I am just settling on my composition and laying in some of the shadows and highlights. This will be a painting of a little street in Frayssinet, a tiny village tucked in the Lot Valley of Southern France:
I painted another version of this scene with different light and a different orientation before, but this painting will focus more on the little cottage to the left in the foreground. The cast shadow across the top of the canvas is from my easel. Sorry about that! I'll try to get better progressive shots as I go along.