a little ditty from sachuest wildlife reserve near newport rhode island. i was there several days ago teaching one of my Paint Camp workshops.
this one was a challenge. you outdoor painters know what i'm talking about when i say the light was "shifty".
there's a reason the word has a bad connotation as in when somebody says "that guys a little shifty". what they mean is he's unreliable. thats how the light is when these big billowy clouds drift across the sky. there are holes where the sun shines thru down onto the landscape. not the whole landscape mind you, just pieces of it. so the landmass in the background might be lit up and the foreground might be in shade. five minutes later the background landmass is half in shadow and the foreground lit up like times square. can be frustrating while painting.
what can you do on a day like this when you need to make a few dollars to pay the bills? well this is when a lot of outdoor painting in the past will come in handy. the memory is in better shape for the task. you stick with one set of conditions and no matter what happens you dont chase the thing around as its changing. paint the landmass when its lit up. when that goes in shadow and the foreground lights up, paint it. what do you do when its all gone in shadow? clean your palette, clean some brushes, step back and take a break from looking at it. then when the part you want to work on is lit up again work on that section of the painting. dont think this method takes the frustration out of it, it just makes it maneable. i have to paint to eat, making all my dollars from my art, so i cant take "shifty" days off, and my wife frankly wont even let me entertain any such nonsensical ideas! LOL