Posted by Maggie
Much of what we paint in Spain is architectural—whether it's the white walls and red rooftops of the pueblos blancos or bridges or other subjects. So it was a nice break to go out for a day in the campo, or countryside, and paint natural subjects.
In the morning I painted a demonstration on how to paint moving water and rocks, which was quite fun after all these days of painting buildings. The river was quite shadowed when I began, but as the day went on it got more and more light. It was cool in the morning but as soon as the sun hit, so did the flies. There's always some problem when you're painting outdoors—if it's not too hot or too windy, then there are probably bugs. Or, sometimes, you get them all. But if the painting comes out well, it's all worth it. Left, my demo, Rio Genal, 9x11, Pastelmat, ©Maggie Price.
What makes a plein air painting a success? Well, first of all, I try not to call them paintings, but rather field studies. Calling your work a field study removes the pressure of trying to create a finished, frameable painting, and lets you just get as much information about value, temperature, color and form as you can get before the light changes. And sometimes, if you're lucky, it's also a painting.
It was a nice day and a nice change of pace. We went back to the hotel for an early night and preparation for a very early departure the next morning for our trip to Granada and the Alhambra Palace, the subject of the next blog in this series.