Why I Am A Studio Painter

When it comes to painting landscapes, I prefer to take photographs of beautiful places and then go back to my comfy studio and paint.

I stood in the mud on a drizzly day to get the reference photo for the painting above. I'm a wimp when it comes to "roughing it."

I fell in love with this little video of Tony Pro and Jeremy Lipking the minute I saw it:

So far my adventures in plein air painting have been a disaster. Who knew that bugs loved wet paint so much? They took my industrial strength "Deep Woods Off" as a party invitation. 

Rain, lightning, wind, sunburn, and no bathroom...ick.

My last effort to paint outdoors cured me: a sudden gust of wind blew a very wet paint-loaded canvas off the easel. As I struggled to catch it, I stepped in my paint thinner. I swear that more than one annoying sarcastic squirrel laughed at me.

Now I think it is funny but this is really why I am a studio painter.

As I recall, the above painting involved a ferocious battle with mosquitoes and I cut and ran right after I snapped the reference photo.

I keep an inexpensive digital camera in my car at all times because I never know when I'll see just the right lighting, cloud formation, shadow pattern or simply an amazing tree.

I especially like "weather" - the moisture-laden air, clouds before the rain, the clearing after the storm, mists, vapors, fogs, smoke and hazes. 

The mysterious colors of dawn. dusk, twilight and moonlight are better captured on location with my camera instead of my brush.

It only takes an instant to snap a picture. I appreciate the luxury of painting long hours in my warm, dry, bug & wind free indoor studio.


VoiceofReason said...

Amen! I’ve never understood the thrall with plein air, even unto the point of snobbery of some that specialize in such activity. I understand the value of painting while you look at the true color, rather than the flattened color presented by photograph. On the other hand, I feel quite free to use whatever color I wish, regardless of inspiration. I’ve tried plein air and I heartily agree; I like my creature comforts. Furthermore, I found that I spent a lot of time setting up, taking down, and wondering why oh why did I not bring more -fill in the blank-, rivulets of sweat pouring down in 110° heat, mosquitoes and horse flies buzzing my face and the occasional slithering and/or rattling sound of some snake in the grass checking me out. I even carried a loaded .22 rifle in case I ran into any feral dog packs. Then, once home, cornering the market on some pink lotion supposed to soothe the numerous chigger bites found in embarrassing places. To each their own but for me – NO MORE! Besides, I often do my best work at 3:00am when the world is quiet and nothing else demands my attention. Studio painters unite! We have nothing for which to be ashamed.

jeff f said...

I find painting from a photo to be hard as all the values are off and the perspective is never right.

That film was very funny however and reminded me of when I went painting in the highlands of Scotland.

They have midges, which are mini-moistures with large bites that attack in swarms of fifty or more.

Still it was fun...

The Space Above the Couch said...

And then if you are too approachable people keep trying to talk to you while you work. One friend suggested I mumble to myself so people think i'm crazy and stay away. (-: The fun of painting in highwinds... and picking the hay out of a painting. I'm sure it would be lovely in provence.. but don't think i'll be painting the northern lights out as seventy below anytime soon. I don't think Turner painted his snowstorm on site... oh to have monet's gift. each to his own. (-: