After the Harvest, oil on canvas, 12 x 24, Kit Miracle
I do not ever text and drive and rarely speak on the phone while I’m driving, but I am guilty of another distraction. I am frequently guilty of taking photos out the window as I drive. Sometimes there is just one fleeting moment – a ray of light, a cloud formation, whatever – that I must capture. The photos are usually not very good but they capture enough of the effect to jog my memory and be translated into paintings in the studio.
This is from a photo I took on my road (sparsely traveled) that I took last November. It grabs the early morning light on the cornfield after the harvest. I was attracted to the contrast of the golden cornfield, the patterns of the rows, the cast shadow of the valley and the darkening sky. Rain is on the way.
First day of vacation for me…finally. So does a plein air painter sleep in? Heck, no! Up at the crack of dawn to paint at the beautiful Lake Patoka which is just right down the road from me. Fortunately the oppressive heat wave is over for a while so the morning could not have been more pleasant.
Lake Patoka has 8,800 surface acres set in a 29,000 acre state recreation area. So peaceful and not crowded. I have been scouting places to paint and selected this site on the eastern side of the lake. No one was there except me and the cormorants fishing for their breakfasts.
Cormorants fishing for breakfast at Lake Patoka
The first painting was facing north with the strafing light and shadows from the right.
Patoka Lake, first site
First plein air painting at Patoka Lake. 11×14, watercolor, Kit Miracle
The second painting was facing west with the sun at my back.
Second site at Patoka Lake
Second plein air painting at Patoka Lake, 11 x 14, watercolor, Kit Miracle
Sunflowers in blue bowl, 16 x 20, oil on canvas, Kit Miracle
This is another example of a slow painting. If you’ve followed my blog, you know that I like to paint en plein air. The challenge of turning out a speedy painting in a couple of hours is fun. However, some of my best work is when I create a studio painting which may take weeks or more.
This blue bowl of sunflower and zinnias presented its own challenges. If you’ve ever painted live sunflowers, then you know that they keep up their rhythm of turning towards the sun. This means every time you return to the studio, the darn flowers have rearranged themselves!
This is an oil on a toned canvas. I spent about a week and a half on this painting. I don’t know if the painting is actually done but I’m finished working on it. The flowers were in pretty sad shape by the time I finished. I like the careful attention to detail but it is a real trick to not overwork a painting. It should look effortless for best effect. In my opinion.