Last Saturday I went painting with friends on the Van Buren county Riviera, near Pittsburgh (Iowa, that is). Carroll Michalek turned us on to some exposed limestone banks on Chequest creek. Jessica snapped a photo of us, budding fashionistas all. Amazingly, the coordination of our painting ensembles was totally spontaneous: This season the Art Smart Set is wearing shades of gunmetal with accents in ultramarine and claret.
At the easel, however, I got lost in all the neutral color and woodsy texture. I was kind of happy color wise with what I did but think it could have been simpler: Suggest more texture (not render it) and paint more pattern. Here's the picture on location.
Here is a studio version next to it - with what I hope are simplifications and improvements.
I don't paint woodsy subjects enough. I've learned to simplify a field of soybeans but I got seduced with all the rocks, leaves and branches here. I heard similar complaints from those assembled.
One of the things to be said for painting with friends is that you instantly see major variations on a subject, especially when others are working in different media. Jessica and Carlene painted in oils this outing, Carroll drew and I reveled in the novelty of using watercolors in January without vodka in the water pot. Had I been painting solo I may not have tried to puzzle through these issues and just moved on to other subjects. I think it's worth going back to and doing some more.