When Good Painting Trips Go Bad

Have you ever been on a painting trip all excited and pumped about what you were accomplishing – visualizing wonderful larger studio paintings — only to get home and the paintings look flat and the photographs, as usual, look nothing like what you remember? It’s times like these when I have to work hard at improving reference, stretching myself to make more progress as an artist, using imagination to see how many different compositions I can come up with, or forcing myself to do more color sketches with a variety of color schemes. Two books that I recommend for compositions are Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting by John Carlson which has a good chapter on composition and one on planes and angles of the landscape. The other is Composition of Outdoor Painting by Edgar Payne. I’ve used both of these books to bring out what I needed to work on.

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