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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Try Again

Back to the Bridge
blocking in the sky, Castel, and bridge highlights

I returned to the Ponte Sant’ Angelo on Sunday afternoon, where Andrea Smith was working again, to take another shot at the bridge and castle. Having learned from my two previous failed attempts what the light would be doing, I arrived around 4pm, and got set up on the downriver side, where the bridge would stay in light until after 7pm, while the Castel Sant’ Angelo would remain more or less consistently lit left and shaded right (silhouetting the bridge). I worked on a large canvas board—35x45cm—that had been wiped down from the previous day, which had given it a mauvish glaze over the burnt siena underpainting. Starting with the sky, I moved to blocking the Castel, then the lights on the bridge,…..

The result, after two hours of painting, shown here is not quite finished—the Archangel Michael hadn’t yet arrived, and the fortuitous foreground bush got more leaves. But you get the idea.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Admit Defeat

This is the painting I painted yesterday for the Rome iteration of the Worldwide Paint Out. Actually, I abandoned two paintings, wiping them down to start again today. Plein air is not automatic, or if it is you're not doing it right. It is a bit of a high wire act, and what I got wrong yesterday were two bad choices at the Ponte Sant' Angelo--the first working on the upstream side too late in the afternoon, when not only the bridge but most of the Castel went into shade--and if you're not painting light you're not painting. By the time I went to the downstream side and started again I realized I had a better late afternoon subject, but again had gotten too late a start. Better to admit defeat and start over than "finish" a badly begun  (or nato male, as the Italians would say) painting.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rome Paint Out 2011

Down By The River

Andrea Smith of Atelier Canova is coordinating the Rome iteration of the "2011 Worldwide Paint Out," sponsored by the Plein Air Painters Organization, September 9–11 along the Tiber near the Ponte Sant' Angelo. It's a site I've worked at in the past on my own, and where I've set up groups of students. I've tackled it before in watercolor, so it'll be good to work there in oil this time. So many great artists–Valenciennes, Vernet, and especially Corot–have painted it on site and in the studio.

If you're in Rome this weekend, stop by and see the works in progress (each day after 4:30pm); I'll be there Saturday.

A presto,