"Scholls Overlook" 8x10" Oil ©Brenda Boylan
I must have plein air painted this scene 6 times over the past 3 years. This location is really up there in altitude overlooking the valley edge of the Portland, OR metro area. This is Scholls, OR. Pronounced shhh olzz. During this little outing I painted in the intense wind, experienced easel toss #5 and had to pee in the middle of nowhere while a passing car saw a moon. Now this is personal stuff, but it's reality too. That is plein air painting in it's uttermost honesty. OK, there you have it, "me". Now for more serious stuff...
Cropped detail of "Scholls Overlook"
Each time you paint a piece, you bring with you all the painting accomplishments and failures up to the easel. That equates to all the successes and failures bundled up and presented to a blank canvas. Many of my students have told me that they will paint 1 (one) good piece out of every 10. I tell them the odds get much better if you paint more often, daily if possible. When I first started out working on my artistic abilities, I had perhaps 1 out of every 15. Even then, my eyes weren't trained to know what was "good" or not. It just looked good because it was so photographic, and people would think it was really "good". But an artist mentor of mine once said, "Why paint photographically when you could just frame a photo?" That had me stopped in my tracks.
So much thought went into that statement over the years. What appears to me as I work from my feelings and intellect is to allow knowledge and experience to take over my work, and that can only come with time at the easel. This also takes gallery/museum visits, reading about our artistic ancestors, painting with fellow artists, and a lot of persistence, patience, and mental ability, but so worth it. So I encourage you to take your work to a higher level by painting every day and your effort will pay off... sooner than later.