Sunday, June 16, 2013

Constructive Criticism Welcome!

As a 30-year career artist, studio work is what I'm accustomed to -- plein air painting does not come naturally to me. I think it's a great discipline and requires making decisions in a completely different way, so when I get the opportunity I continue to work at it -- I just know it's not my strong suit.  I watch other artists whose work I admire, ask questions, study their results, and I know what I WANT to do, I just can't very often make it work like I'd like. Eleven of us just finished the Plein Air Paint Out as part of the Gettysburg Festival, and I thoroughly enjoyed participating. I wasn't all that enamored with the pieces I completed, and about mid-week I decided to try something different. Since my training is in drawing and I know I often get too hung up on detail, I concluded I wanted to work in a way that wouldn't allow me to add any -- I worked with the Neocolor II Watersoluble Wax Pastels. I started with a couple of wet layers and finished with dry color application, similar to traditional pastel work. Below are my results -- since I know this group has a number of excellent plein air painters, I'd welcome any constructive criticism you're willing to give! They're both small - about 5 x 7. (I had to use an unconventional method to insert these photos; for some reason, I can't get them to upload from my computer, this evening, so if you can't see them well enough to comment, please let me know.)


7 comments:

Julie Riker said...

My training is in detailed drawing as well, but plein air painting has helped me to "loosen up". It forces you to make quick decisions and to simplify. Its the details that sometimes attract me to a scene, but when painting I try to start with the larger masses/shapes and gradually hone in. Mostly the results come from regular practice (I noticed an improvement in my own work just over the 9 days of steady painting). Also, learning to treat plein air works as studies or sketches helps to keep from getting too fussy.
I think whatever you did here worked for you. It is good to try a new approach and keep it fresh.
Nice getting to know you this week Amy!

Larry Lerew said...

Remember back in grade school when we had so much fun making art. That's what plein air painting or "sketching outdoors" is about for me. Have fun making art, experiment, get your hands dirty, try new things. Don't be afraid to fail! It's only paper and paint and they can't hurt you. Any time well spent will show benefits down the road. I also think of my work as sketches so I don't tense up or feel I have to produce every time. It takes awhile to get beyond being taught to stay inside the lines. I am comfortable and set in a lot of my ways but art is an area where I feel the freedom to break out of my comfort zone and grow.

All your experience and skills are to your benefit and your art shows that. All you really need is to give yourself permission to add a little more fun.

Amy Lindenberger said...

Julie and Larry,

Thanks for taking the time to respond -- two of my most admired plein air painters! I appreciate your input, and enjoyed getting to (finally!) spend at least a little bit of time with you this past week.

Sue Marrazzo said...

Amy...
You have some great mentors
in this group to help you!
I think in ART we are constantly learning...
just go with it and ENJOY!

Tatiana Myers said...

Interesting!... I didn't know You work with wax pastels too. When I took a first look at those two little paintings, I wasn't sure at first what did You use for it... I personally do not see any problem with Your Plain Air work. Both paintings looking good, even for some reason #2 is my favorite... I hardly can explain why. I happened to study with two great artists, who work both - from photos and Plein Air and they open my eyes to the fact: "You don't have copy the nature". You taking idea, rearranging things, if needed, but putting a lot of emotions in Your piece. If You want to put small details there too, this is all right, if You want to have a finished painting and this is Your normal style of how You paint in studio. Otherwise... if You want to simplify things and paint on location quickly, just to get down idea of what was there, we have a "field sketch", and that doesn't need much detail and could be done fairly quickly. Most of those paintings are done with intention to do the studio piece of the same subject at later time. Original idea of 'Plein Air' came from those field sketches, studies, or etudes, when during summer time, bunch of guys where going out in the field painting and most importantly - OBSERVING the nature. Their goal was use those studies and inspiration they got in the field for future studio works during long winter. Our days most of Plein Air painters trying to have finished piece while they are out there... Big difference. I believe it came when classical "old school" of atelier painters was replaced by joyful bunch of impressionists. They painted impression and had no need for detail, but this is NOT the only way how correct Plain Air painting should be done. Do what feet Your style and situation, look what others do, but do not copy them, just learn from them and adapt it to Your own style. At my humble opinion You are doing just fine. All You need (we all do!) - more practice and self-confidence.

Amy Lindenberger said...

Thanks, Sue. Tatiana: I truly enjoyed and appreciated your thorough feedback. You've given me so additional things to consider. Thanks for taking the time to write that all out!

Dianne Lorden said...

Amy, I LOVE these - especially the one on the bottom. It seems brighter, somehow. What a cool medium. I don't that I got a good look at these in person, but Craig did and he was really impressed. He told me all about them. Seems like your plein air style blossomed with a new, earthier toy to work with. You should keep experimenting with this; your studio style is masterful, of course. But your painterly style shows beautifully here! I love it! One technique I like is to stop looking and add colors and marks that show how you feel about the subject. Even when I have to finish a plein air at home, I often work by memory -- it gets to the heart of what I liked about the scene.