I went to the quickdraw competition at Plein air Easton yesterday. I severely struggled with the painting. I chose to paint the local church with backlighting, including the office. It has a great roof pitch over the door. The natural effect was great, but my painting was not. You have 2 hours to paint and 1 hour in I scraped it down. I took on too much subject matter. I decided to narrow down to just painting the office with the interesting roof. Well this just wasn't working and spectators were coming by to view the artists at work. Normally I'm fine with that but I WAS STRUGGLING BIG TIME. In frustration I wiped my effort away with about 10 minutes left to paint. I packed up and drove home not even seeing the awards or any other work for that matter. A tough day. I did get to view the week long participants work at the museum. Incredible work. This is probably the top show in the country and the work proves it. There are some incredible painters there.
I dug through some photos when I got home. I found one of the Louvre in Paris. I took the shot years ago. I was just as interested in mass and line then as I am now. The photo had 3 figures almost dead center on the canvas. Frankly, they were one the most compelling things to me. I painted them in and was happy with the loose, gestural result. The problem was they were centered and equally distanced apart. I blocked them out visually and realized they were not helping the piece. I painted them out. I think they would be good enough subject matter by themselves. Just as at Easton most times less is more.