This is the fifth installment from the series of posts that will describe my thoughts and technical insights from selected works included in our newly released book, “Not Far from Home”….Enjoy!
“Morning Conversation”… page 167
As I reflect back on the experiences of this painting and ponder what may be interesting and useful to you, a couple of things come to mind. First is the richness of the plein air experience and how all of the elements of conversations, the sounds, the smells, etc., work there way into the painting and provide a fullness of spirit that cannot be faked. The brevity of light also added spontaneity that would not have been as possible had the lighting been more controlled or if the subject had been painted from a photo. Secondly, in this work specifically, I had a window of about two hours of consistent lighting before the back lighting changed to a side raking of light which affected the whole mood. It is critical to stop at this point or you will ruin the painting, trust me, I have done it! After the light had changed and I was packing my easel for the day bemoaning the changing light and such a short window of opportunity, I noticed Bud and the other model standing in the doorway continuing their conversation. At that moment, I was struck by the carefree expressions and gestures and realized that we must attempt another painting. With the models willing to stay for another round, I made a trip to the car for another canvas and began.
Moral of this story… always have plenty of canvases in the car and if your light changes, (which you can count on much of the time), try to muster the energy to begin again and make the most of the opportunity.
This photo shows the second work that was painted during the afternoon light.
These paintings required several return visits to complete, but the time spent was well worth the investment.
Bud’s final comments as we concluded the work were, “Dan, there’s only one problem with this painting, why are you painting the front of my ugly face and the back of Wendy’s head?” Everybody needs a “Bud” in their life…what a treasure!