This past weekend I just pulled some of the paintings I have done this fall that I wanted to touch up; some just a tad, others more than a tad. I think the general rule of thumb on a painting being called a plein-air piece is 80% done on site and 20% can be done in the studio. A plein air painting done 100% on location is called "alla prima." So with that in mind, I think all of these still qualify for plein aire.
Friday I worked on this piece from the Bobolink Trailhead in Boulder, done in October. I had wanted to even out the grass field so that the plane gave a better feeling of being flat. I do tend to get carried away on the textures and patterns. So I tried to keep the color the same but lighter in value on the foreground and to darken the tree itself. I left some of the grasses as is as I weaved the lighter values in. I do actually think of it being a "weaving" of color when I am painting on top of an existing piece. I know there are many artists who use their field sketch to do a bigger painting from, but I actually like to work on the painting itself. It helps me to think about what I want to capture in the field that I am not getting done.
Saturday I revisited the painting I drove to Boulder twice to work on in the field. The Teller Farm buildings. I was still not satisfied with it and so onto the easel it went. I wanted to simplify the shapes and add contrast between the light and the dark shapes. I also flattened out the foreground.
Sunday I pulled a painting out from September painted in Fraser. I have been looking at this painting for months now and wasn't sure if I should mess with it or not. I finally decided that yes, it was something I wanted to do. I toned down some of the colors and unifed the values. I am much happier with all three of these paintings.