Friday, April 16, 2010

Day 7: Irises at Allied Arts

I belong to a friendly plein air painting group that meets on Wednesday mornings to paint local scenes.  This week we took a road trip to Palo Alto to visit the beautiful Allied Arts gardens.  It's a remarkable place tucked back in a residential section on the west side of El Camino Real.  The public is welcome and they have a first rate cafe for ladies' lunch.  

I spent most of the morning on a complicated scene.  I'm afraid I fell into a poor habit of overworking the piece.  Watercolor is best when used simply and carefully, not placed ploddingly or heavily.  While I know this as an artist something in me forgets and I paint and paint and fix and add when I know better.  We need to do a lot of "less than perfect" paintings to allow for those tiny miracles to happen on the paper.

At the end of the morning I set aside my disappointment in the earlier piece and vowed to do a five minute painting.  I just stared closely at these extraordinary lavender/blue irises.  The result which I post here proves my point that "less is often more."

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