A few weeks ago I shared the plein air painting that I did with Brighton Painting Group during our visit to Stanmer Park on the outskirts of Brighton:
I commented at the time that I thought this was probably my most successful plein air painting to date, and that I had it in mind to try to paint a larger version of this view, but from the comfort of the studio! This plein air effort was on a quarter imperial sized sheet of paper but I was keen to scale up to a half imperial sized sheet.
Here’s how I got on:
I purposefully avoided referring back to my first effort, preferring instead to rely on a reference photo and my memories of the day, and what appealed to me most about the view.
I found it both interesting and frustrating that when I painted the plein air version, the painting seemed to come together quite naturally. This studio version, by contrast, often felt like a bit of a struggle and, right up until the end of the painting, I had serious reservations about it. It was only when I’d finally completed it, and had left it alone for a while that my attitude toward it began to soften.
Removed from the trials and tribulations of the experience I had in painting it, I now think it’s a really successful painting! For ease of comparison, here are the two paintings side by side:
I’ll always like and appreciate my first effort because it was done on location and in the elements. I am, however, still really pleased with my second attempt. It still captures the light and mood that I recall from the day and the addition of the figures and dog provides some additional interest that I think is needed at this larger scale. I think there’s also some greater subtleties with the colours and edges that also add to the interest.
I’d love to hear anyone else’s thoughts on this latest one and how it compares to the original.