Once while painting near a railroad track, an Amtrak passenger train whizzed by and the wind created at the end of the train, lifted my entire setup off the ground and tipped it over, my mineral spirits washing off half of the painting which was almost finished . In my ire, I had the good sense, to pick everything up, dust it off, and begin laying in the missing parts of the painting, which, since I had painted it already, were easy to put down again and with a much-improved confidence.
I ended up being pleased with the result. My point is that lots can be learned from not being too precious with your work, but at the same time, if changes will not benefit the painting, I don't recommend doing anything else. Move on.
We learn from every painting and more than anything else, it's in the process where we learn. The finished product is just that, the residue of our investigation. While we can learn from studying the good and bad elements of our paintings, sometimes it's good to move forward and keep painting. That is why I advocate speed in doing an outdoor painting. After 2 or 3 hours, the light has changed completely and there is no sense in working on something all day long, changing the light on the painting to match the changing light from the sun. There was, to begin with, something about that scene that grabbed you and made you want to paint it and sticking to that original plan is a good idea. By laying in the lights and shadows almost immediately, changes in light won't affect the painting. Sometimes, for example in the late afternoon, the shadows will improve and become more dramatic. I know from my experience when this will happen and I try to anticipate it in my painting, so I will emphasize my shadows and paint with the moving light. At times, this is serendipitous and a good result occurs, most likely a simplification of the shadow areas and an overall softening of the colors.
I love to paint along the California coast because of the beautiful, almost palpable atmosphere. You can understand painters' attraction to this beautiful state with it's varied subjects encompassing almost every climatic zone. The coast is especially beguiling to me. It's almost always the perfect temperature year-round and the proximity of the ocean with all its scents and sounds, makes painting there a pleasure. Even on cool, foggy days, my childhood memories are called up, when I first saw the ocean at age 14 on the coast of Oregon.
To be continued . . .