Originally Posted by BeeGee
I have just started painting outdoors and I can't seem to find anything interesting to paint, I know it must be beginners brain, but really where do I start, do you all take photos or paint the whole scene?
OK, first be aware that you do not need to do a photo realistic painting trying to capture the entire Grand Canyon on one tiny canvas. 8=()
Composition is composition, whatever the subject. Being outdoors may have fooled you into thinking that you are dealing with some sort of broad perspective like wide angle cinema. You aren't. You can isolate any small detail you like and alter it however you like.
So if you see a tree or group of trees that capture your interest, start with that. A path, a hillside, a barn, a building, a corner of a building, a shadow, a cluster of junk, whatever.
If you don't use or have a viewfinder, and I found that I don't like using them, just use your hands to "frame" parts of the scene. Move around that frame to find something interesting.
One easy thing to do is to take shots with a cellphone or digital camera. That will help you pare down a scenic view to a manageable scene worth your paint. In fact, there are even free apps you can download to a cell phone that will help you copy, simplify or otherwise manipulate a shot to get the basics of your composition.
Another good practice is to spend some time looking at other artists' plein air work. I use Pinterest to view all sorts of scenes and subjects, techniques and styles. If I'm going to a seashore, I'll look at many of those to get basic ideas. By stimulus loading like that, when I go out into the world my brain is already set to see composition and design.
Consider joining a plein air group. I have one we run on Meetup.com for that purpose and it really helps to paint together, even though we are at differing skill levels, use different media, and have completely different subject preferences. It's instructive to watch how others "see" the same scene you are looking at differently. Here we are in one small suburban park and you can see how many different subjects and views we found: https://www.meetup.com/Burlingame-Pl...bumId=28031921
Take it easy and in pieces. Have fun with it.