I had forgotten how much I hate admitting that I don’t know everything. I don’t know how to paint a landscape en plein air. I want to learn. If I’m going to learn, I have to be able to admit that, right now, I don’t know how to do it. I did try it this week. I took my paints into my back yard and I sat down in the shade and I tried to paint what I could see from my chair.
I could see the bird feeder and I could see the plants around the bird feeder. I sketched a bit and then I painted. There are so many problems with this painting that I didn’t realize until I was lying in bed that night, trying to get to sleep, that I had not even turned the canvas to a landscape orientation. I painted a landscape in portrait orientation.
Well, at least that’s one problem I can easily fix the next time I paint. The others may not be so easily fixed, but I can see them and that means I can work on them. Obviously, the background is impossible. I just didn’t want to think about it until it was way too late to do anything about it. I like painting what I see in front of me, but what was behind the little garden was the big wall of a house. It was not attractive. I didn’t want to paint it, so I just scumbled in a ridiculous mess.
Okay, that didn’t work. It’s never going to work. I need to try something else. See? I’m learning.
I think the hardest thing for me is realizing that I’m given a certain amount of canvas (in this case, 8” x 10”) and I have to account for all of it. I can’t just do the fun part that jumps out at me the minute I sit down. I have to think, and think fast, about what I’m going to do with the whole space. I can’t just fill it in after I paint the obvious stuff.
I need to plan and I didn’t do that this week. I was barely able to make myself carry the paints outside. Even after I carried them out there, I thought about giving up and bringing them back inside. It was a very near thing, but I painted. I am glad that I painted.
Next time, I’m going to try to remember to squint.