Willow in back-light

This week is bringing us some gorgeous weather here in central Virginia, so on the way home from the farmer's market last night, I took a detour and decided to keep a recent promise that I made to myself. I returned to Young's Pond to paint the evening scene I'd scouted out when I was there the prior week for a morning painting session:

Willow in Back-light" Oil on Canvas, 12x16" ©Jennifer Young

Willow in Back-light" Oil on Canvas, 12x16" ©Jennifer Young

Having already conceptualized what I was going to paint in advance, I set up quickly and dove right into the painting. It was a good thing, too. Even though I started relatively early in the evening (5 PM) all of that beautiful back-lighting did not last. After about an hour and a half, the sun sank quickly behind the trees on the distant hill, and took all of that beautiful back-lighting with him!

Luckily I got the painting about 90% complete. As I later told my husband, "I had the essence but not the poetry". This is what I hoped for as I worked on the final 10% immediately after I returned home to the studio (while everything was still fresh in my mind). Mainly it was just a matter of softening some edges and adjusting a value here and there, (and trying not to do too much for fear of losing the essence!)

12x16" is not a huge painting, but it's the largest I've done in plein air in a while. One of my goals (goal number 274!) is to increase my plein air sizes beyond 12x16" or even 16x20". With more canvas to cover, it may require multiple visits to the same site at the same time of day, but it would be interesting to see how far I could push it. We'll see...I have the whole summer ahead of me yet.