I just returned from the Sonoma Plein Air painting competition. It was a great experience with challenging weather, good crowds and a very talented group of artists. My friend and fellow painter Robert Sandidge won the Artist Choice award with a well-deserved entry. Thanks also goes out to founding artist Keith Wicks for his hard work in making the show such a success and honor to be a part of.
The week started out with rain, but you can always find an interesting subject if you look for it, as is what happened with “Puddle Patterns” above. I am never opposed to altering my original idea if the opportunity presents itself and what started out as a simple road scene was completely revised after noticing the amazing sky reflections in the water.
Upon pulling over and trying to figure out the composition for several minutes, I walked around to see if there were other good views. Once I saw the puddles, everything changed. My idea of the road leading you up to the tree was revised to be the puddles. I used the dirt and grass to widen my entry into the painting. Then made the puddles smaller in size as they went back into space. As I was painting the reflections and enjoying them more, I decided they would become the main focus. The original focus of the tree was now secondary, so I kept it simple and everything else soft. I also juxtaposed the sky clouds to the angle of the mountain so your eye zig-zags down from the top. The hard edge where the road meets the dirt was varied so as not to detract from other important areas.
Taking my time to stop and smell the roses turned out to be a good thing after all! Enjoy.