Monday, April 19, 2010

"Marsh at Forge Pond"

"Marsh at Forge Pond"
6"X6" oil on gessobord

Inspired by a post from Liz Wiltzen that I keep going back to, I've been looking around on my way to and from work for good painting spots. I like to take the back way, and with the recent flooding and road closures here in Massachusetts, I've discovered some new options. Here's what Liz says about painting plein air that keeps coming back to me:

Get out there and paint. Lots of bad ones. Figure out why they're bad. Try not to do that again. Go out some more. Have a strategy. Try and stick to it. If it's not working, abandon it. New strategy - try again.

When it's over, know that a day out painting is worth a week of painting inside (from photos) for skill building, even though you may not be sure why at the time.

So that's what I'm going to do. And the timing is perfect, because I LOVE to paint outside, and it is now warm enough, and light enough, to do that either before or after work, if I can do it in an hour. That's also a good thing for me, a time limit. Get it down fast, step back, adjust, and then decide what to do better next time.

So what about this painting? I discovered this spot last week, when I was looking the opposite way. (Note to self, when you find a good spot, turn around and look behind you. Think about how the light is going to be on the other end of day. You may have found two good spots!) It's on the marsh on the southeast end of Forge Pond in Westford. This island of trees grabbed me, I love the shapes. OK, so I spent the hour of 6 to 7PM, and got it done. Not too bad and it was really fun. What will I change next time? I'll pay a bit more attention to the composition between the bottom of the foreground trees and the background tree line, and work on varying the brush work in the sky holes around the dead trees. Practice, practice, practice.


  1. Hey Bobbi, good for you for committing to getting outdoors to paint more often, you can't help but grow from it. I also think it's great that you are evaluating your painting after it's done and thinking about what to do differently next time, this will really accelerate your learning. The one hour time frame will also be a huge asset, and best of all, you will be connecting directly with nature, no middle man, which is worth the ride even if your painting doesn't fly. Have fun with it!

  2. Thanks for your post this morning with the quote from Liz. Good things to chew on there. I also appreciate your comment if you have found what you think to be a good spot, turn around.

  3. Your boundless energy amazes me. Really nice picture, and what a great way to end a work day!

  4. You always have the best advice and I wish I had your discipline. You are an inspiration! Marsh at Forge Pond is a pretty good hour's worth of painting.

  5. You are right. If you don't go out you might start to paint the 'photographic' colors.
    Gotta check out that link.
    I love the way you paint trees.