Made a day trip to Ennis, TX on Saturday for some serious plein air work. I produced five paintings in about six and half hours which means the paint was flying and I wasn't laboring much over any of the paintings. I do not consider myself a very good bluebonnet painter and if you make your living as a landscape painter in Texas it just seems like its expected that you do bluebonnets.
A good friend of mine and one of the best painters I know, Bob Rohm, gave me some sage advice a few weeks back when I was lamenting to him my disdain for painting bluebonnets. Disdain may be too harsh a word, but I just haven't had any success producing paintings of our state flower. Bob said the key is to paint the bluebonnets in the same value as you paint the grass. Most painters paint the flowers too dark because all they see is the deep blue of the flower, but to make it sit in a field of grass or wildflowers you have to paint them the same value as the surrounding grass. Well when I set up my easel on Saturday to tackle my first painting I remembered Bob's advice. I painted everything in the scene except the bluebonnets purposely avoiding them until they were the only thing left to paint. Then after mixing a pool of blue paint in the same value as my pool of grass color I laid down the bluebonnets. OMG! LOL! Slap me silly. Bob is a genius!
"Along Shadow Ridge Road" 9" x 12" oil/linen
After my first painting I was off to the races and I couldn't pass a filed of bluebonnets without wanting to stop and paint them. What a rush?! A 9" x 12" painting normally takes me from an hour and half to two hours and I was cranking them out in an hour or less. No energy drinks for me...just give me some fresh paint and a field of bluebonnets.