Painting out-of-doors is a real sport. What with the rapidly changing light, bugs, snakes, and other distractions, sometimes I'm just happy to come away with something that looks like a painting at all.
While recently painting at Meadow Park in the charming town of Lyons, Colorado, I was beset with numerous challenges. First was the change in weather. It was distinctly cool, gray and overcast for the first half of the session. Ever mindful that the sun might make an appearance, I'd set up my easel under a tree -- but I'd not calculated how much shade coverage said tree would generate. Sure enough, the sun DID come out:
Dapples of Doom
...and I had a fun time trying to match colors and values, because as the sun continued to rise, spots of light and dark moved with it. I rarely use my painting umbrella, due to our infamous Front Range winds, but this was the one instance in which I'd wished I'd brought it.
Then there were the kayak school students, and the people inner-tubing down the river. Not being familiar with the area, I'd not known that my "secluded spot" was actually one of the favored places for water recreation fans to launch from. They'd apologize; I'd apologize, and then for several minutes I would wait until kayaks and tubes bobbed merrily away from the area I was painting.
Adding to it all was the pressure of time, as I'd gotten a rather late start finding the park, and I was supposed to be done by noon for the critique session on the lawn. Seeing as it usually takes me at least 25 minutes to make preliminary sketches and mix my pigments, I had less than one hour in which to do the actual painting when it normally takes one and a half. Eeep!
Reading over this description, one might think that I wasn't having a good time, but of course it's all just part of the pursuit that comes with this form of painting. If it wasn't a challenge, it wouldn't be such a thrill when things sometimes DO work out.
And I gotta admit, immersing oneself in the actual scenery one is painting: feeling the sun, hearing the water...it really is the best creative boost ever.