Let me show you my best painting secret!
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outdoor painting is the fuel that keeps the artist going through the long journey in the studio.
Which do you prefer - outdoor or indoor painting? There is no right or wrong answer, but I want to look at an aspect that sheds more light on the topic.
When painting outdoors the constant change in conditions and the many other goings on that form the totality of the experience makes us react to all these stimuli. This seldom applies to working in the studio.
At first glance it may suggest that outdoors work is very demanding and chaotic at times. Perhaps it appears this way for example when the weather changes for the worse. We need to react to changing conditions by making quicker decisions about the painting process. This prevents us from making too many little changes. What seems like a limitation at first becomes a plus. Our intuition improves together with our skills often resulting in surprisingly fresh and energetic paintings.
In the studio the conditions are controlled, but the demands for results are also higher. The actions of the artist need to be more positive. Nothing happens without your input and you have to supply the stimulus to do something. The technical and other artistic processes need to be brought into play to ensure that a painting of studio quality is produced. Often this can result in flat and lifeless work. When we pull it off the painting can look accomplished, but is there atmosphere and a sense of feeling in the work? Only the artist can answer this truthfully.
There are often reasons put forward to avoid outdoor work such as safety issues or that the results are hit-and-miss resulting in wasted paint. There are many artists who paint outdoors without any risk provided that common sense is used. As far as wastage is concerned the results in the long term will pay for any wasted paint.
It does seem then that ideally we need to combine the two because outdoor painting is the fuel that keeps the artist going through the long journey in the studio. Both outdoor and indoor work is necessary for us to arrive at our destination.