M. Stephen Doherty

M. Stephen Doherty
The editor of Plein Air magazine at work

Monday, July 12, 2010

Plein Air Painting at Favorite Locations

Rockwood Hall Demonstration, 2010, oil, 11 x 14. Collection the artist.

I start off in search of new painting locations, but more often than not I wind up back in one of my favorite spots where the site is familiar, no one bothers me while I'm painting, and the vista challenges me to create a good painting. That's why I often return to Rockwood Hall, a state park near Pocantico Hills, New York. on grounds given to New York State by the Rockefeller family. The park offers one of the most expansive views of the Hudson River from an elevated site.
I followed my normal painting routine in developing this picture, except that I exaggerated the dark shapes that framed the view and accentuated the strong light pattern cutting through the tall trees and hitting the middle ground of the landscape. I liked the way those changes added drama and impact to an otherwise common summer scene.
Increasingly, plein air painting becomes an emotional rather than a technical process. My mind seems to stray from the color mixtures and brush work and ends up focused on the feeling of being alone in a vast and stunningly beautiful location. No matter what is on my mind when I begin painting, those thoughts quickly slip away and are replaced by the a joyous recognition of being in nature on a beautiful day.

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