Thursday, October 6, 2011

Woulda. Coulda. Shoulda.

Oil Study of Wash Park Boathouse-8x8
Today’s post is a small plein air oil study I've been working on for the Denver Plein Art Competition. It’s a painting of the Washington Park boathouse--one of my favorite local landmarks. But truth be told, I just couldn’t finish this painting to my satisfaction on site. Nor did I finish my watercolor of the garden.

From what I can tell reading other posts, forums, and blogs  the discussion regarding “finishing” of a plein air painting (particularly for a competition) is a somewhat controversial. In other words, there doesn’t seem to be definite answer for how much is acceptable to paint back in your studio. In general, the range I found for various plein air events (if it was addressed) was “none” (for quick draws or one day paint outs for example) up to 20 percent later touch up.

In this case, given the contest took place over several weeks, my goal was to finish the painting as close to 100% as I could get.  Since I don’t usually paint plein air on regular basis, I admit I was rusty, and so I fell short of this goal.

So I have some thoughts in my next post about how I’ll make my next plein air competition or paint out more successful. Hopefully, these tips will help you too if you’re planning a first time plein air event.

In the meantime, I promised some additional tips about how to improve your chances for getting into juried art shows in general. My first suggestion is: Don’t wait until the last minute to submit your entry. I always back out a show due date at least a week on my calendar. Why? You might have trouble with your images, your computer, the entry website, etc. So give yourself plenty of time. For more art show tips check out this helpful article: Five Tips for Getting Into Juried Shows.

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