Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I was busy working on 2 large paintings inspired by 2 small plein airs that I did over the summer. I know that 24" x 30" isn't large by some artists' standards, but for my current mode of working, it really is.
Often when I do a larger studio painting from a plein air, the studio work takes on a life of it's own and comes out quite different. You think I'd be in complete control of this but that's not how it works for me. Sometimes I think it's good that they're so different but this time I was really happy that they're not. I think (I hope) that the larger version captures the same beautiful summer day feeling that the smaller version has. Here's the studio version:
My second subject was based on a plein air that I did in early September. At the time I painted this one, I really wanted to be higher up on the river bank, but street level wasn't a good place to setup, and part-way down the bank was simply way too steep to stand on so I painted down by river level. Which was a nice place to be, but not exactly what I had in mind. The painting did capture the feeling and colors of that day, but in my studio version, I used some photographs in addition the plein air painting, to do the painting that I really wanted to do that day. The plein air painting was my reference for color and mood but the photographs were necessary for the big change in perspective. This is what I came up with:
Stockton is a nice little river town, and the Stockton Inn is good stop for food & drinks. The iron truss bridge I painted here was the site of Edward Redfield's famous painting "The Burning of Center Bridge", where the wooden covered bridge on this spot went up in flames one night in 1923. (Center Bridge, Pa is the town across the river from Stockton, NJ.)