|18x9 pastel and watercolor|
One thing I always do before a plein air competition is scout out the territory. I really don't like to come in cold. So much of painting is about the feel, not just the light and things.
Recently I have really enjoyed the very long vertical, so I plan to do at least one long vertical. Last year I did a couple squares and rectangles from this view. I used those and created a new idea. It's the essence of downtown Cumberland right after sunset. Knowing that I would do this vertical format, I had to a special frame made to accommodate my possible work. This painting (above) won't count, of course, but it gave me ideas. It's simpler if you just use standard sizing...but oh dear....no I wouldn't want anything simple??? Would I? I also made a small square frame of my favorite gold scoop chops.
Rules for a plein air competition demand that all work must be done on site, during the prescribed times. You get your board/canvases stamped on the beginning day and must use only those for your new work. Plein air competitions are sort of nerve wracking...that is till you produce the first painting that you like. It's only then you breathe a sigh of relief. "Ah, I am not a total failure and won't embarrass myself!" I say. Normally I am a very positive person, but in these competitions the pressure often makes me feel VERY insignificant...more than usual.
PS Last night while doing my "observation walk" I saw the first firefly of the year!! Yipee, summer is here!