Posted by Maggie
Our second pastel painting session was under entirely different light conditions than the first session of the day (see Part One for the first session's paintings). Many clouds had moved on, although some that remained were as storm-threatening as the earlier ones. I had hoped to paint the river, but it was muddy brown from the previous day's rain, so we chose a spot along the road not far from the river. Both of us selected subjects involving buildings, though we were looking in opposite directions.
I never used to paint buildings. I didn't find them interesting, and when you're painting outdoors, the light changes so fast you can't spend a lot of time drawing. But once I started teaching workshops in Europe, I learned to love painting structures. They can add an interesting element to a painting. I also became comfortable with the understanding that my paintings done outdoors are field studies, and that means I'm looking for accurate color and value, and an understanding of the light and weather conditions and how they affect the way light and shadow describe form. So my drawing doesn't have to be perfect. It also helps that many of the buildings I end up painting in Europe are falling down.
By the time we finished our second session, the winds had picked up and were threatening to blow over our easels. The afternoon got windier still, so we spent some time taking photographs and picking out a painting spot for the next day, described in Part Three.