If it's summer in Tennessee then you must be sitting on your porch! And so many different porches there are: we have a back porch, covered but not enclosed, and we have spent many lovely hours reading, visiting, eating and just listening to the cicadas and songbirds this summer. Some good friends of ours have both a front and back porch large enough to do some good old country living on. With just a little pleading they let me come over and do some plein air painting of their sweet Southern porch life.
I really enjoy painting structures, but what a challenge! Finding a compelling focal point, getting perspective close enough to not look wonky, eliminating unnecessary details...whew! Plus, I was hot and sweaty and standing next to a tree with a little poison ivy climbing up. Needless to say, the painting was incomplete when I packed it in so it got more attention later in the studio to finish. My friends liked it so much that they bought it and commissioned a second painting of their back porch!
Once again, I painted what I could within a 90 minute time period and then refined and finished the painting in my studio. One technique that can be really helpful is to edit the reference photo into gray-scale and let it be a guide for developing accurate values in the painting. I am much more excited about my figurative paintings when there are fewer details and more light/shadow suggestions.
I have struggled for hours trying to get a face exactly right when what pleases me most is just the suggestion of a cheek, nose, or chin. So with "Back Porch Life" (and with the wishes of these dear patrons) I kept the details on Charlie's face and body and let Eban be more mysterious.
The other challenge I faced was choosing what things to leave in and what to leave out. Charlie had a career as a newspaper reporter, so I wanted to add the element of folded newspapers on the table and eliminate the bottles of bug spray. 😜
Here are the finished paintings! You can see where I added and took away details, such as putting their cat, Taboo, on the Front Porch swing to strengthen the focal point and adding the spots of red on the Back Porch to move your eye around the painting.
Thank you for viewing my art!! And thank you to Charlie and Eban for all your support!!
Hello! My name is Wendy and I am passionate about oil painting! Whether in the studio or out in Mother Nature, I get lost in the experience of capturing on canvas the moment and the feel of what I am painting. I pour my love and energy into every single piece of artwork and I hope it shows! This blog is a place where I can use words to talk about art, painting, life, faith, things that make me laugh, and things that inspire. I love every response, so don't be shy about leaving a comment...