I spend a lot of time driving around rural Virginia looking for landscapes. When I find one, I snap a photograph and dash away. Very often, as soon as I stop to photograph, concerned motorists slow down and stop, thinking that I am in some kind of trouble. I just wave my camera and say I am taking pictures. There is no possibility of sitting for any length of time to do a proper "plein air" painting. I take the photos home, download them, do a little Photoshoppery to crop them, and then paint from them. The idea is to make the painting from the photograph LOOK like it might have been painted on site. Lately I have been using the iPad as a reference photo compendium, so that I can move back and forth between images without making a lot of cluttery paper prints. This didn't take very long to do, just a few hours at most.
This image is from my latest expedition, which started at Chateau O'Brien and made a big circle around country roads in Fauquier County. I am also trying out some new watercolors which use fine-ground colored stone pigments the way painters did in the past, rather than the chemical dyes which are often used nowadays. These pigments are much more natural-looking and match the colors of trees, stone, dirt, meadows, and other earthy environmental sights. I plan to do a number of these little watercolors and maybe I can exhibit them at a winery.
"July Twilight" is watercolor on Arches paper, 11" x 8 1/2", July 31, 2011. Click on the pic for a larger view.