Banishing the Photo Reference - Mostly

Creek in Winter
16 x 12
I decided to take my own advice for a change and keep the use of photo references to an absolute minimum.  This landscape was painted from notes and plein air sketches done on site; none of which were stellar on their own, but they contained useful information about colour and shape.  When I ran out of ideas, I allowed myself a quick peek at the photo, never enlarging the image  past thumbnail size on the screen.  That stopped me from noticing all of the detail that those megapixels can capture.

What pleases me most about this painting is the bold colour usage.  Plein air work often has that characteristic because of the speed that you have to work in order to capture the scene before the light changes, but it's often lost in the studio, especially when a painter has the luxury of studying a photo for hours at a time.  A painting can easily get overworked and lose the fresh colour of the sketch.  By forcing myself to  work mainly from the sketch it was possible to avoid that trap.

I'm tempted to try this on a large scale and see if I can keep it simple.  I'll pull out the huge brushes and pretend it's a plein air day.

Happy painting