One of the oft repeated essentials of plein air painting is ‘take your time’, which is always a laugh when you’re out in the field and what your trying to paint is either fading, drifting or running away from you. I mean, the light significantly changes after about an hour and a half, so it’s a bit of a conundrum. But I’m pretty sure it’s solid advice – like, Mr. Miyagi, doesn’t-make-sense-but-do-it-anyway advice that turns you into a karat- plein air master. I mean, I know when I’ve rushed a painting, and I know it looks bad. But every now and again I get into a mad rush that makes my colors and strokes come out better, for some backwards reason. Maybe it’s the adrenaline, maybe it’s because there’s no time for inhibitions. Maybe it’s dumb luck. But whatever it is, I like it.
This particular painting came directly on the tail of a failed sunset piece – I flipped my pochade box around and put up a new canvas. I barely made it through the trees before it was too dark to see what I was painting – and I may have continued to paint a little longer after that. So the trees are not so hot, but the clouds, I think, came out well.