Today was a perfectly beautiful day in the Missouri Ozarks. The sky was blue, the trees in the Mark Twain National Forest were at peak color and Noblett Lake looked like a jewel in a lovely jewel box. This is the view (from above) of the area below the spillway. The painting is not much to write home about....I need about a million miles on the brush with plein air painting. It was a lovely day though and it was fun to get out and attempt this. Despite the biting bugs and the fierce wind, it was a great time outdoors! :D Many of the passersby seemed to think more of the painting than I did. They were quite kind.
This was painted in the evening from our terrace at Bonne Terre, looking past the roses at the edge of the terrace, over the tile roof of M. Lamy's home, toward Lacoste. The sun was low in the sky and the light on the side of the clock tower in Lacoste was beautiful. Again, I was painting in acrylic and, again, the paint was just about drying on my brush. I was getting much faster with the painting as a result. lol The next time we were in Apt I picked up some medium that slowed the drying time of my paint and mixed medium and paint in the tiny jam jars that I saved from breakfast. Parfait! That worked like a charm.
Pont Julien Bridge on the Domitian Way near Apt, France
The weather had been cold and rainy for several days with highs around 50 fahrenheit (10 celsius). Finally a day dawned sunny and absolutely beautiful. (Though southern France is beautiful in the rain as well, I must say.)
We decided to go for a drive to Pont Julien so that I could paint and Joe could take photos. The sky was brilliant and the fields glowed red with blooming poppies. It was certainly warmer! The temperatures soared to nearly 90 F. and the air was dry dry dry. The paint was nearly drying on my brush before I could even make a mark. It was a challenge, but also made the painting fun--no time to over-think or over-work. Decisiveness was absolutely required. A family with several children and a little dog were playing along the riverbank behind me. It was a lovely afternoon.
I finally had a few minutes to finish this today. Now he looks more like himself and less like some news anchorman on TV. :) It's amazing how just tiny changes, subtle value shifts or the slightest adjustment to chroma will make such huge differences in a portrait. Those eyes right there--see those eyes? Those are the eyes of the man I love.
Lily, painted 'older' than she actually is. She always seems older than she is to me, probably because those eyes are always taking everything in. She misses nothing. She is very wise for such a young girl. An "old soul".
Here it is a warm quiet night. The tree frogs and cicadas are whirring their nighttime music. Somewhere though, it is raining and people are hurrying home to their families for dinner and for some quiet time and a good night's sleep. Sweet dreams out there.
This painting needed a calm place for the eye to rest. Neutralizing the green under the chair a bit also allows the eye to go to the center of interest more effectively. I'm pleased with the results. I wish you could see it in person. The photo doesn't begin to tell the story.
I couldn't resist the impulse to make changes to this painting today, so I've posted a new photo of it. I'm happier with it. I like the light coming in the window, through the curtains and reflecting on his face and the paper. I feel like I'm sitting at the breakfast table with him again. It's been many years. Nice to be back there, if only with paint and a fond memory.
An earnest boy chugging up the hill with his prized gift brought with all his heart. He'd carried it all over the property....a slightly bent, little bit squished sprig of something from the field. The sweetest bouquet.
This all started with the "mudhead" painting, Girl in the Garden (#1). I'm seeing how far I can abstract a face or figure and still have it read as a particular person. I feel pretty free to experiment with my own face! Who can be mad if it looks awful? Hmmm, perhaps I look better with a lot left out. :)