Tuesday, October 7, 2014

After the Rain
10 x 12   Oil on Panel

The reason I prefer to create plein air oil studies rather than work from photographs is this: the oil studies, no matter how unfinished they may be, are a richer, fuller interpretation of the landscape before me. Photographs are like simple, unadorned declarative sentences. No adjectives, no adverbs, just a record of what fit within the parameters of the lens. When I'm standing outside painting, however, I can express what is going on outside the parameters of my canvas. I can see the clouds moving into my painting and feel the breeze on my face. I am aware of the moisture in the air, the birds singing and the joy of seeing the clearing in the distance. I am not just painting the scene before me but painting the experience of being in that place at that time. Monet's paintings of his gardens are great paintings, not because they accurately describe his garden but because they make you feel as if you are actually experiencing what it was like to be in those gardens. Rembrandt’s portraits are masterpieces, not because he can paint a better likeness than anyone else, but because you feel like you could speak to the sitter. Rembrandt recreates the experience of being in the same space as the sitter. Photography is very good at recording what is in front of you, but painting is able to express the experience of being there. Photography speaks, a painting sings. A good plein air oil study can take me right back to the place I was standing when I did the sketch, I can hear the birds and feel the breeze.....

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