Knowing when to stop

Tower Point - Stormy Morning Oil, 8" x 10" October, 2014
Tower Point – Stormy Morning
Oil, 8″ x 10″
October, 2014

Life is getting more interesting!

My husband has been infected with my plein air painting bug. We both love making art and combining it with little road trips and being in the out-of-doors, watching weather go by… is heaven. What this means is that almost all we talk and think about is how, when and where we can paint! Never “why”. The “why” is obvious when you see the smile on our faces, hear the glee in our voices and notice that everything we own now has specs of oil paint on it! The car, my purse, the sheets! Even my nightie. Oh my.

I digress.

When I’ve done plein air watercolour painting in the past, I didn’t have to worry about knowing when to stop because watercolour is such an immediate medium. And I tend to lean to the simple. But with oil painting I am finding it difficult not to overwork a painting – or at least to let some of the early groundwork show through in the finished piece. I absolutely love those early stages of blocking in and figuring out the light and composition. Some of those early marks are most beautiful and loose. And I want to keep more of them.

Last time we went out (Tower Point – Stormy Morning), it was a blustery day, to say the least. We were forced to work very quickly, which lent itself to a few beautiful and intuitive marks and yet I pushed the painting too far when I took it back into the studio (rain and oil paint don’t make good bedfellows). I started out that day with a mantra of: Long, loose strokes, simple forms. Mantras keep me on track. So next time my mantra surely will be: Get it down and let it be.

To that end, I am incredibly inspired by two painters these days. Roos Schuring and Robert Lemler. I don’t even have to say why… click on those links and you will understand. IF, that is… you understand the beauty of knowing when to stop.

Where will we paint next?!

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