After I finished the first plein air painting, I decided I wasn't happy with it for a couple reasons, even though it seemed a huge improvement over my last one, last year. First, I don't like how dark it is overall, and second, it's way more realistic than I want. It was great practice, but it's not even close to being as good as my best studio work. I looked around for other places to paint but decided to keep working with the barn, try acrylics, and try a limited color palette that I've worked with before.
I started with a one-color value sketch, and each day I added a color or two, gradually building up detail and trying to capture the colors in the scene without overworking it. I stuck with a larger brush for just that reason.
On the next to last session, when I'd done as much as I could without letting the paint dry, I had too much paint left, and the sky was full of paintable clouds. I got a pad of cheap canvas sheets (the one I've mentioned previously) and made an attempt at the clouds, painting as quickly as I could because they and the light were changing every minute. It took me about 15 minutes to get them as well as I could. I haven't had that much fun painting in a long time, and it was a great way to unwind after a session.
Today I had the pleasure of painting in a pretty good breeze. Every few minutes, a new dusting of fir needles and pollen flowers came down on everything—the palette, the water tub, and the painting. I picked off the big lumps and kept going. By the time I felt that I was done with the painting, the breeze was getting stronger, so I skipped trying any clouds today.
I think I've spent about the same number of sessions as on the first one, and I think I'm done with it today, although I might tweak it a little more. I feel as though I'm making progress, but the big deal for me is that this is the first time I've ever really enjoyed plein air painting. Time to go on to the next one.