Lately I'm wanting to try my hand at a bit more architecture, so I figured there'd be no simpler place to start than in my own back yard. I painted this piece en plein air right in front of my studio:
The view is of our back door that leads into the kitchen. I love to cook, so I am a bit of an herb nut and have a small potted garden filled with herbs and flowers along our back steps leading up to the kitchen. In summer it is so nice (and convenient) to step outside and grab some handfuls for a salad, marinade or other dish. I started most of the potted herbs from seeds and have many different kinds of basil (I kind of went a little overboard with that one!) plus thyme, lemon balm, and parsley all within reach. Climbing up a small mounted trellis are super sweet "Sun Gold" cherry tomatoes given to me by our friend Al--a favorite snack at our house (the tomatoes, not Al!) The little pot sitting at the very top of the trellis is catnip, which had to be mounted up high to be "rationed out" to the kitties in order to keep it from being annihilated in one sitting.
The light only stays put in this spot for a short time, so I started this painting one morning and put the finishing touches to it on the next. It's something I rarely do, but since I have the convenience of living at the site, it worked out okay. This one took me a bit longer to resolve than many of my other outdoor paintings. Mostly I prefer to try to finish everything en plein air alla prima. Not only is it a hassle (and not always possible) to have to return to the same spot with the exact timing and weather conditions, but it is often hard to recapture the same mood and feelings and thought processes about a place if I spread the work out over consecutive days. But this is the view I see from my desk as I work on my computer (in fact, I'm looking at it right now!) and it has become so imprinted in my mind that I don't think the painting has suffered from the interruption.