As I drove home from an event this summer, I took the long way home. Have camera, will detour. This day, I wound up seeking vistas of the Potomac from the Prince William County section of Virginia. The drive reminded me of how rural Virginia is, even a few dozen miles from DC.
This painting is from a picture that day. It's a park named Patawomeck, which was hosting little athletes and large family reunions.
I sought to paint big shapes in the vein of that style of landscape artists. Of course, I got in some extra details, but I primarily stayed true to my initial goal.
Much of my work is done en plein air, French for "in the open air." People often associate it with the Impressionists, but the move to paint outside preceded them by a number of decades. The trend to appreciate landscapes as a genre at all was new for the time.
Several characteristics contribute to the distinctive beauty of en plein air painting. They are generally smaller in size in order to be able to capture a scene in a single sitting. Because of the time limit and environmental factors such as the sun and shadows moving, they often lack extensive details and might appear slightly fuzzy or unfinished. Lastly, they tend to have a freshness and spontaneity which makes them impossible to compare to traditional and methodological studio work. That said, my own studio work tends toward the same feel as en plein air, which then identifies my overall style: softness with an edge.
My aim when painting en plein air is for alla prima paintings, which roughly translates for me as "what happens outside, stays outside." It adds another level of difficulty to the work.
These are some local places for landscape painting; most are within an hour of the Beltway. Look here for the complete album, a couple hundred views from my photography collection, which are mapped here.