Here is one I'm working on at the present....first, a plein air I did about a 7 weeks ago, the plein air- 9"x12" oil on linen
..and now the beginnings of painting a larger instudio version from the plein air...24"x 30
here was the basic steps...
beginning the block in...(turps, pigment a bit of copal)
a bit further along-
and...the end of day one-
here, a couple closeups-
Some of the Dynamics recreating Painterliness-
In converting a plein air done from the subject on location to a larger instudio piece...the challenge on my mind is to maintain a sense of spontaneity so that the piece does not look overdone and lose its freshness.
The challenge for me is that the look
of the plein air or style
pretty much takes care of itself.
I've seen a good number of threads where someone wants us to tell them what we think of their "Impressionist" painting when in fact, they looked at an Impressionist's work and then labored to attempt to mimic
the brush work and color to apply instudio to a subject of their own.
Of course, it is noteworthy to be moved by Impressionist works and attempt to understand them, but starting with the stylized look and work backwards often well misses the point.
For example, Monet was called the "painter of light"...not the "chaser after style!"
The look...that Impressionists had which was unique is one that many today are discovering simply by painting on location.
...its simple common sense. You take a painting that might take you ordinarily 20 hours from start to finish...(mine used to take 200 hours), in the comfort of your studio to think every step out carefully, but now...set up outdoors with a window of perhaps 2 hours of cooperative lighting that establishes the mood and drama of the scene and thus the very reason you were compelled to paint
. Knowing you have such a severe restriction of time...its like damage control combat readiness.
See how sailors normally swagger and walk about the deck of a ship? They've got time. Ever see the movie Pearl Harbor and see how the sailor/actors moved about while under attack? It was organized chaos.
Why do I say "organized?" Because in the Navy (I having been a sailor), every sailor drills and drills for such things. You have your station, your duties. Chaos, because when the moment happens everyone is going every which direction, but all calculated for the necessity of the moment.
Standing there with paint, you do calculations. Some of those are intentional, some you go with the flow because nature always throws a surprise or two at you. With more experience (like the sailor's drills) you get on top of the situation and future potential situations.
" however...is not generated by focusing on the look anymore than one thinks about the phone they are holding while having a conversation.
Those accustomed to painting instudio not ever having attempted to paint outdoors on location may not likely ever come to fully realize this. Instudio, one has endless time (with exception of meeting some deadlines). Such time instudio gives more time to consider technical application, how such will contribute to the look
and so forth.
Outdoors...focus for me is on nature, its mood and the moment. You learn to trust your instincts and get beyond concerns to fabricate a look. The stroke of the brush is necessary calculated essential economy in effort to not be outdone by a light that may at any moment disappear.
What I find to be a challenge instudio when converting a smaller plein air to a larger work is that I now have this thing called "time" on my hands. I don't have the actual scene in front of me anymore, no nature taunting me with threats of removing the light. Time for the left brain's analytical convergent way of thinking to have greater role.
Each artist has to come to know themselves, and what can be trusted and what cannot.
For myself, I feel my past wildlife instudio work mandating hundreds of hours in a single work is a threat. That I know I can paint endless photo realistic details in a sense hangs over me, and I know I have to keep that inclination in check.
So...outside, painting from life I totally enthrall myself with nature's presence and beauty. The harmony is an existing one with existing natural light, and using a limited palette of color to minimize the need for left brain analysis the painting nearly takes care of itself. Other than purposing to have sound composition, intended variation for interest...I get into a zone or groove oblivious to anything else but that moment, the scene.
Inside...I now have a large canvas waiting to receive -dun dun da daaaahhhh (music playing) "a LOOK!!!
Knowing I can't help now indoors but to think about the look
I will attempt to mimic the life that the smaller plein air study is inherently imbued with. This is not as easy as it sounds! One must know their tendencies to overstate, get out of sync, or let another agenda take over. Restraint!
For myself go to the larger canvas, I reach now for much larger brushes.
While others see a large canvas and see opportunities to put in more details, I see details as the thing that threatens to suck the life (the spontaneity) right out of the work. It is not the detail that suggests life. A carcass without breath has detail. For a body to live...life must be breathed into it. In my thinking, it is the play of many factors that creates this spark, and for too many years I was a prisoner thinking detail accounted for that.
Color, value, neutrals, variation compositionally..especially verticals juxtaposed horizontals. Negative space...and so forth. Detail
can be suggested...these other things have to be there. Literally. The detail
of the importance of these other things is a thing many artists miss while distracted on adding detail which results in stagnant lifeless visual records.
So...rather than see a large canvas as a potential to put in more detail I consider two things...one, use the largest brushes and biggest piles of paint possible. Use that largest brush for everything until it can no longer be used, and ONLY THEN reach for the next smaller brush.
Reaching for a smaller brush too soon, at least for me, finds that tendency to suddenly want to get caught up in particulars or possible unnecessary detail likely happen.
Secondly, I consider where I want the viewer to stand in seeing this work. A smaller plein air a person can get the sense of life just a pace or so back. I intent the viewer to be about 3 to 4 paces back for the larger painting.
In a sense then...the larger work seen from 12-15 feet away can and should have a similar appearance as the smaller work seen from 2-3 feet away.
People might walk up on the large piece...and then become aware of the chaos, but they find it interesting just the same when they observe an organized chaos that works to give them the intended image 4 paces back!
My habit is to squint my eyes while working...which gives me a sense of how it may appear stepping back, when stepping back is not always convenient.
A larger work need to have no more detail than I can detect with my eyes squinting for it to work 4 paces back.
Edges are more critical on larger works...as edges translate to a form of detail.
If I can see a sharp edge of an object supposedly 40 yards away, a precedent is set that I ought to see that much more detail in everything closer to me than that object. So, controlling edges, obscurring or softening is important.
Here is where I was at about two weeks ago on this larger 24" x 30" oil...
Working on foremost rushes, darkening their bases (more yet to do...refinements), suggesting variation in upper contours to feel like grasses and reeds. Had fun working abstract elements into the reflections...still more to do.
Used sky color to sculpt shapes of rush reflections in the water...
squint your eyes at this closeup of the foreground rushes and sky...and see how a sense of spark comes, and you can feel the sky. The suggested strokes are enough to sculpt out the reflection.
I'll try and get an updated image up to where it is currently at.
I just recently took a high definition digital image of this piece, and made a smaller near 8 x10" print on Velvet Fine Art paper and my Epson 2200 printer.
One reason I like a larger painting instudio is for making of smaller prints that I can mat and frame up for galleries I'm in. Giving an option for some range of more affordable works of mine for gallery patrons.
Such smaller prints tend to elevate more prestige to the larger work when hung in a gallery. For me in northern Wisconsin...I won't find large works often sold, usually a few to half-dozen a year if lucky, but always the gallery owners tend to believe the large ones draw people to my smaller ones, and in turn the smaller works make one particular patron feel greater appreciation for the larger piece.