I am primarily a plein air painter working in oils. Rather than work from photographs, or even my drawings, I prefer the outdoor setting and dealing with all the information that surrounds me. A photograph always seems to lack the “life” that I need to work with, and my drawings are another interpretation of the subject matter, often leading me to other mediums and other types of painting.
Painting en plein aire always, for me, starts with an emotional response to something I see: I may be drawn to the light, I might like the shapes I see, etc. In other words, I respond to some element of the scene. After I have determined that my subject matter is before me, the intellectual process begins. What format—horizontal, vertical, large, small? What about color palette? Realistically true to the scene or not? What will I simplify for the sake of my composition? Many decisions to be made quickly. This, however, is a part of the process that I love as well.
As a long time resident of Yosemite Valley (who no longer lives there!), I always enjoy returning “home” to paint scenes that are so familiar and dear to me. It’s a “comfort zone”! That is why I frequently include Yosemite scenes in my gallery work. However, I paint wherever I am—there is always something interesting, challenging, and beautiful to be found for the painter.