Big Mistakes . . . .Again !!

"Above The Rancho"
oil on canvas panel, 8" x 10"
Uncorrected and Corrected

Two days ago I didn’t post. I had been plein aire painting with a friend in a new painting location that was beyond description. It was high up with a view for miles and miles in all directions. Huge, massive pieces of agricultural land that reached right to the sea. Clusters of dark trees surrounding a few farm houses stuck out and called for my attention. So, I climbed up, set up ‘camp’ and started in painting. I debated about putting up an umbrella because it was windy . . .not bad, but bad enough to say to heck with it. Biiiiig Mistake !!!

I was firing on all cylindars as I painted away . . .stuff was going together on the canvas rapidly. Within 2 hours, I was ready to call it quits, load up the car and head out. So, we did.

Getting to the car, I pulled the painting out to look at it in the shade. Wham !!! It hit me that my mistake was one I should have seen coming . . .in fact, I KNEW BETTER !

I had overdone the darks and mid-tones. So much so, that the dark shadowy areas were nearly black. Areas and shapes that should have been in a dark middle value had accelerated to the dark side, too! When you paint in the direct sun, the colors appear more washed out . . .the painter naturally compensates without consciously seeing that every mark is much darker than they should be. I have done this countless times and cuss myself for falling into the trap again.

The second mistake was not paying attention to color temperature as a means to show light and shadow. Again, I knew better. Instead, I was slamming the darks as pure value tones.

I awoke that night in the middle of the night and almost sat bolt upright in bed . . . .(why do realizations have to appear in mid sleep in the wee hours ? Why ?!!) . . . .I was visualizing what I should have done . . . .I should have used more blues to indicate shadowed areas . . . .cool out of the light and warm in the light (on a sunny day) ! sheeesh! How long does it take to make this a habit ??

The last mistake was to ignore the mistake. This morning I awoke telling myself to ‘git into the studio and fix it!” This little compulsion is the part of me that others call ‘self discipline.’ I don’t call it that. I HAD TO SEE if I was right in my mid snooze epiphany.

I think I was. I won’t again work sans umbrella . . . .and I’ll be more watchful of color temperature instead of absolute value. Clearly, Mistakes are the best teachers . . .if we pay attention.

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