Friday, January 7, 2011

Train Depot Plein Air

Old Cordova Train Depot  
8 x 10

plein air version

For today's post, I am showing another painting with two versions. Sometimes when painting plein air, things just don't work out as you plan! 

I loved the yellow color of this abandoned train depot and wanted to capture it. Plus I like any building with vines growing on it, so I couldn't resist this one! I stood out with my painting buddy and painted the first version. Although I thought I was well on my way to a good painting when I was out there, things did not look as good to me when I got back in the studio with it and out of the hot sun! I saw that my drawing was off, and just probably could not be fixed easily. 

So, a couple of days later, I took what I learned and liked and did not like about the first version (second photo above) and painted it again in the studio. I had also taken some written notes about the light and shadows on my sketch pad when I did my thumbnail sketch that helped me in recreating the "moment" inside the studio. And, I also had the photograph that I took when I began painting so I could get the light on the building just as it was when I started painting. All of these things act as "tools" for me and help tremendously. I think the changes I made using these tools made the second version work better and I was pleased with it. 

Although I did the painting in the same size as the outdoor version (and did not enlarge like yesterday's post), I still was able to use what I learned when outside to create a painting I was happier with and felt captured the building as I saw it. Hope this helps some of you to remember not all "failure" paintings are worthless!


  1. Your blog looks great, Denise! Way to go. It DOES feel scary putting yourself out there, but it will be a real community for you if you want it to be. Good luck--I'll check back again! (and I love the depot).

  2. Denise abandoned buildings and houses have always been a great subjects for artists and you captured the light and shadows beautifully.Very welldone.

  3. Congratulations on getting a blog started - I wish you all the best!!! Thanks for sharing your moment and your process with us. Looks GREAT!

  4. Well done, Denise. I'm fairly new to blogging as well. You are off to a great start!

  5. This looks great Denise. I really like the way you are showing the two photos. Describing struggles with plein air and what you can work on to improve. I should show more paintings in process.
    Will check with you soon.

  6. You remember a lot from be out. sketching Even a super quick sketch can have great results once back in the studio. I like that method.

  7. Thanks everyone for the welcome and kind comments! Looking forward to this blogging thing!

    And Chris, you are right about the sketch. I do a pretty loose thumbnail sketch before starting a plein air piece, mostly concentrating on the big shapes and the major values in the scene. So with that and my sometimes not finished pieces, I am usually able to either finish or recreate it when back in the studio too!

  8. Denise,
    Really enjoy seeing your process and what you like/dislike and can do better in the second one. Really like the depot- great job:)

  9. Great job with this Denise...your use of all the tools, i.e. photos, sketchbook, etc. really helped you define the light and shadows, beautiful!