The Chelsea Riverside Moorings on a Grey Day, 20 x 8, Oil on Board, 2011

alla prima chelsea landscape painting london oil on board plein air

The Chelsea Riverside Moorings on a Grey Day, 20" x 8", oil on board, 2011 SOLD

I did this painting earlier this year in January when the weather was colder, but I am posting it to share the time it took to complete it from start to finish.
People often wonder how long it takes to finish a plein air painting. Sometimes when the weather is cold I only expect to work for a few hours and then rush in, because I hate the cold. But on this occasion after completing the the first 10" x 8" piece, I had a feeling the scene looked a bit incomplete, so I started another one to make the painting a more horizontal format (these formats are good for dramatic, exaggerated, precarious or secure balance, reclining, restful, flat, level panoramic or stretched scenes-Margaret Kessler-Painting Better Landscapes)I felt this scene was restful and it helped balance the whole composition effectively.

Below are the pictures and the time it took to finish.

Here I was ready at 12.30 in the afternoon to get going, I thought it's only an 8" x 10", so I'll take my time. I liked the sky and the dead greys on the wet shore. The boat added a bit of red to liven up the scene.

Here after 2 hours it's 14.30 in the afternoon and I have completed the first part but, looking at the scene I think I have more cold to endure.

Here after one and a half hours it's 16.00 in the afternoon and I'm putting in my finishing touches. Enough cold endured.

Sometimes a plein air session can be this long or sometimes I have to come back on another day, to do another sitting. It will then have to be another Grey day when the condition of lighting is just similar to the day I started.
Grey days are great to do plein air paintings because the light is constant without changing all the time, one has the opportunity to relax and give it a good shot, the only disadvantage being, if the grey day happens to be a cold one!

"Painting DETAILS can be very relaxing. This is the time when the stereo is turned on and the small brushes are put to use. But this is also the time when a picture can be loved to death. Knowing when to STOP painting is an ART. It is also a personal decision. What is enough and what is too much? Since there is no absolute, I choose to stop just as I begin feeling comfortable with the painting. It is an inner feeling that I have learned to trust."-Margaret Kessler, "Painting Better LANDSCAPES" 1992.

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