Rod sent me this note after our Friday paintout, January 9, 2008. I really liked his comments on "why paint plein air" so I have included his whole note here. I believe that Rod is too critical of his own paintings. He has suggested that we have a critique at the end of the painting session. Good idea. Here is Rod's complete note.
Thank you Rod.
Hi again Brooks:
We talked Friday about why we like to do plein air. These are some of my thoughts about why I like it.
When you are on site It is sort of like being at a concert or a football game instead of watching it on TV. You can see and hear it either way but the experience is very different and my emotions are different.
My paintings done totally plein air have not been very good. However, The thrill and excitement of being immersed in the scene is much more fun. I do like the paintings I have done from plein air sketches, however. Maybe more imaginative and loose. It may be sort of like when I have gone fishing when the fishing was great but the catching wasn't. Just being there (even in the cold and wet) is a good experience and my memories of it are move vivid than they are from painting from one of my photos.
The tranquility of a landscape location or the energy and action of a city scape location affects my perceptions I think. Quite different than looking at a photograph.
I am still not very good at plein air painting, as I mentioned earlier, but feel much more comfortable and confident now than when I first started. Landscapes were overwhelming at first, but now I can zero in on a "cropped" subject a little better. Having people around in city sites was distracting at first, but much less now.
I am sorry to say that most of my paintings are still done from photos because painting plein air was not practical, but I hope to shift more to plein air as I can. As I mentioned to you, you spoiled me. When painting from a photo, I WISH I were on site.