Oil on Canvas
18" x 24"
I'm posting one of the last paintings I've done from my trip to Ireland last year, the "Connemara Pony". Funny thing is, we didn't really see as many Connemara ponies in Connemara as we thought we would. Well, here's one that we did see!
I've read a lot of debate lately about the virtues of painting en plein air or even alla prima versus painting from a photographic reference as to how it relates to success in a painting that is filled with passion from the artist's soul. Personally, I think much of this debate is without much merit on either side of the argument.
I once was told by a good friend (who happens to paint a lot of paintings en plein air as well as a lot of paintings in the studio from his plein air references) that he did not want to be known as a good plein air painter. Neither did he want to be known as a good studio painter - he simply wanted to be a good painter.
I do think the painter, in order to produce great work, must paint with passion and must endeavor to lay a bit of his soul down on the canvas, but I don't think that is accomplished by painting en plein air any more than it is from painting in the studio with or without photo reference. I think rather, it is accomplished by the painter's topophilia, that is, love of place. Or perhaps if not painting landscapes per se, I could say, subject-philia, love of the subject. The painter must be passionate about his subject and this involves a degree of first-hand knowledge of this subject. Whether you travel to a place and paint en plein air versus travelling there and taking a photo from which you paint later is not of so much consequence as whether you were struck by something there that stirred your soul to the point that you want to invest a little of it laying it down on a canvas for the world to share!