Monday, May 18, 2009

Vanderbilt View Hudson River Landscape

Vanderbilt View, painting by Jan Blencowe

Copyright 2009 Jan Blencowe


About This Painting:
Wildflowers and a view of the Hudson River from the Vandebilt Mansion, Hyde Park, NY

Title: Vanderbilt View

Style: Tonalism/realism

Media: acrylic on linen
Size: 18 in X 14 in (45.7 cm X 35.6 cm)

How to Purchase:
send me an email

I'm very pleased with these Hudson River landscapes I'm doing for the upcoming show in Rhinebeck, NY next month. It's been really refreshing painting new subject matter. (If you'd like a postcard/invitation to he show just send me an email.)

I've also been thinking a lot about the place of plein air painting in my work. I love painting outdoors, there's really nothing like it. Mother Nature is an excellent teacher, even if she sometimes is a demanding one.

But, truth be told, I think I make better paintings in the studio. Far fewer distractions and one thing I noticed to day, I can get closer to the canvas with my studio easel and I think that makes a difference for me somehow.

I've made a bit of an attitude adjustment towards plein air work. First, I no longer think that a plein air piece should never be worked on in the studio. I used to think that, but now if a plein air painting shows some real promise but isn't completed in the field due to time constraints, weather, fatigue whatever, I definitely will finish it in the studio, and it will be a hybrid of sorts.

Second, I no longer go out intending to bring home a finished painting. If that happens great, but my intentions are to explore a place, creating field studies that are valuable exercises in themselves and may provide the basis for a studio painting.

Believe it or not these were hard attitudes to acquire. When you're out painting people come and watch, other artist wander over to see your work and that opens you up to their criticism and judgement.

Many plein air artists pride themselves in being able to knock out a well crafted, finished painting in a couple of hours, and that's great. I can do it too but I dislike the pressure that puts me under. In many ways it robs me of the joy of being outdoors in an encounter with nature. This is probably why I rarely participate in paint outs that involve "wet paint" sales and auctions at the end of the day. Waaaay to much pressure.

I intend to get out as much as I can this year to paint, but I'll be off by myself, in out of the way places delighting in color,light, paints and brushes experimenting and creating. I may bring home a mess or I may bring home a gem. Either way I will have painted for myself for the sheer joy and exhiliration of it, not to prove I can paint a painting in an hour or two!

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