No Fear!

I wanted to enter an upcoming juried exhibition.  Stipulations of the exhibit include that it had to be inspired by a certain section of the Platte River in Denver, plus it had to be completed during a certain 10 days in August.  I somehow got it in my head that much of this should be done “plein air” which means created at the actual location.  Live.  (*gasp*)

Now painting plein air is not my forte.  I think I’ve only tried it once, and I didn’t enjoy it a single bit.  Set up with this dilemma, but still wanting to enter the exhibit, I proceeded to talk myself into a frenzy with questions, questions, and more questions.
Where am I going to do it?
Do I have all the right supplies?
How am I going to carry them?
What time do I really have available?
I only have 3 afternoons in the 10 days that I could go down there.
What if it rains?
I can only go on a Saturday.  What if it’s busy?
Is there gong to be anyplace to park?
What if there’s another artist where I want to work?
Is it really going to be 100 degrees that day?
Are people gong to watch me?
I can only use one canvas. What if I mess up?

And that was just the start.  Nothing like setting up your own “worst case scenario”.  After talking the whole situation down for over a week, I just decided to stop worrying.  I jumped in and tried it.

And you know what?
The weather was warm, but lovely.  No one else was even there.  Parking was a breeze; had all the supplies I needed.  Although I did much of it in the studio, I was so glad I did the start while actually there at the river.  Photographs can so easily skew the perspective, and it’s just not the same.  I’d like to try more plein air paintings, but complete the whole thing out there. (Ok, it’s only been done for 1000+ years, but for me , what a new concept!)

I learn things from every painting I do.  Although this one may not be my favorite, I learned probably one of the most important lessons here:  Don’t accept defeat before you even start.

”You have to pretend you’re 100% sure. You have to take action; you can’t hesitate or hedge your bets. Anything less will condemn your efforts to failure.” – Andrew Grove, Intel co-founder

Think you can, think you can’t; either way, you’ll be right.” — Henry Ford

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” — T. S. Eliot

Heat Relief (sold)
oil on canvas

(Click, and then click again for a closer look)

About Tracy Wall

I'm an artist and massage therapist living in Denver, Colorado.
This entry was posted in Colorado, Creative Process, My Art, Painting and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to No Fear!

  1. Faye says:

    Hi Tracy,
    This is a really nice painting. Good for you for trying something new. It IS daunting to paint outside, but (warning) it is also addicting and fun, and I think it brings a certain energy to your work that painting in the studio cannot duplicate. I think you nailed this one – I do hope you will try it again.
    The quotes are great – very inspiring.

  2. Melissa says:

    Very nice! I love/hate plein air painting. While you’re there, doing it, “Oh, my, this is horrid!” But that night, you can see that you caught the feeling. And you did. The cool calm water and trees, under the swish and rumble of traffic, a great contrast.

    My camera is a tyrant, as bad as any drug. It doesn’t begin to see very well, compared to my sketches, however scratchy they are. One painting is like a bird in hand, can there be any comparison to those two hundred photos inside a computer??

    Good luck in the show!

  3. Tracy says:

    Thanks Faye! I think you’re right; it has a good chance of being addictive. It’s already effecting my studio work. Stay tuned for more.

    Melissa, you’re so right about the “second look”; I didn’t know if it was because I had time away from it or not. Hee, hee, you’re also right about the zillions of pics on my hard drive! As for the show, it’s juried, so I won’t find out until next week if I’m in or not. We’ll see!

  4. Jeanette says:

    Just fabulous Tracy! You’ve captured that cool feeling of water beautifully. Plein air isn’t my forte either, but nice to try once in a while and if it turns out anything like this, yes it could be addictive.

  5. Bim says:

    It looks beautiful! Great compositional choice. I love the arc of the bridges and the shadows of the trees in the water.

  6. Sunny says:

    Wow! Great job, Trace. I can understand how this could be addictive, especially for you who loves the outdoors. I remember a mother once telling her children that “you can be or do anything that you want, can dream of, if you try! ” Good luck with the jury!

  7. joy Schultz says:

    I love it, Tracy. Feels cool and shady, just like you are there. And I love the dog and person, bluish colors. A milestone in many ways.
    Go, girl!

  8. Tracy says:

    Thank you all for thge wonderful comments!

    Jeanette – I see you’ve been trying some plein air oil yourself! We’ll both keep painting!

    Bim – It was those repeated arcs that brought me to that area.

    Sunny – Yes my mother said the same thing, and I will always thank her for that. Sometimes though it’s not the voices we hear that we listen to, but the voices in our heads.

    Joy – I know it’s a little hard to see the figures in the blog image. I remeber talking to someone (you!) about how figures can make such a difference. Rather new for me.

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