1500 National Avenue

December 11, 2014
1500 National Avenue; Plein Air oil on Canvas Panel 11 x 14

1500 National Avenue; Plein Air oil on Canvas Panel 11 x 14

Ventured out to National Avenue again. On my last trip over here, I noticed a scene that had potential. It was a rather impressive tree house surrounded by brilliant yellow and ocher leaves. That day was cloudy, but today was clear and bright with sunshine. I had the design set in my head. I knew what I was going to paint. Unfortunately, over the past few days, the trees dropped a lot of leaves. Too many in fact. That idea will have to wait for next year, assuming the tree house is still there.

Traveled the street a couple times and settled on this scene. Rather than just focus on the house, the front corner of this design, at the base of the street sign, had an interesting display of Nasturtiums. I felt that the flowers could offer a different and interesting flair to this painting. I was attempting to work quickly to capture the house, shadows and Nasturtiums. Unfortunately, the angles of the house required additional time to nail. I was also interrupted by passers by. It was nearing noon and I had yet to work in the flowers except for subtle indication suggested by a few, random brushstrokes. Since the weather report indicated that the next day would be a repeat, I felt confident that I could come back the next day to capture the foreground display of flowers and finish the painting.

In my classes, I stress to my students that they should always nail down elements which will change, and do it as quickly as possible. That generally means elements such as shadows, clouds, people, vehicles, etc. I should listen to my own teachings. Came back the next day and quickly realized that the homeowner did some yard work. The carpet of fallen leaves was no more. Not a problem since the yellow/green grass worked better for the light/shadows. But something else was amiss. The Nasturtiums! The lovely Nasturtiums at the front were gone. At first I attempted to paint the flowers in based upon my memory of the scene. Realized that this strategy would be a mistake.

I decided to make a few adjustments to the design and then finish it before the homeowner did any additional yard work. I selected to leave the background a bit vague. I feel that this helped to frame the subject home effectively and still add some mystery to the design.

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