The weather has been beautiful here in Florida, so I’ve taken my work out of the studio to the beach the past couple of weeks. I won’t lie. I’ve spent some of the time kicking back, enjoying the sun and the sound of the waves! So, here again are some new pieces. I started with some watercolors. You can see how the weather and light changed throughout the hours I spent on my first day:
And here is an oil painting, in which I focused mainly on the water:
For obvious reasons, water is difficult to capture. I believe it takes hours of practice and observation, if you have the patience. Here are some other challenges to plein air painting, which I’ve become reacquainted with on this latest adventure:
1) The Public. This is a double-edged sword. When things are not going well, it can be frustrating knowing anyone can walk up and ask to see what you are working on. When you are happy with the piece, it can be a fun way to meet people, especially kids. I met one little (precocious!) girl who informed me, “I just wanted to see what you were doing because I’m like a REALLY good artist, too.”
2) The Sun: I’m very fair and proned to sunburn. The first day I went out, I tried to stay in the shelter, but became so absorbed in my work that I didn’t notice the shadows moving and ended up sunburned on the side of my face. I remembered sunscreen after that, but still ended up with a very uneven tan. Also, my freckles are now out for another summer!
3) The wind: One day last week I only got about two hours into a painting (unfinished and not pictured here) when I was chased back into the studio by increasing winds. My portable easel was shaking so much, there was really no point.
4) Changing weather conditions: Another longer painting remains rife with problems because the conditions changed so much between the two different days I spent on it. Apparently, partly cloudy versus sunny changes everything – from the shadows on the sand and to the colors of the water. Who knew?
Think of all the artists who spent their careers out of doors fascinated by changing light and how to capture it, from Turner to Monet. I can understand why an artist would devote a lifetime to such a pursuit.