plein air landscape painting
Painting From Life vs. From Photos


This is a painting resulting from searching. Outlines of different figures are visible behind the man and woman whom I ‘found’ in the process. The sketching use of paint is not the way I usually work. That’s part of what makes this picture interesting to me. It bridges drawing and painting which, for me, are usually sequential and distinct processes.

I made this back in April. Now I am returning to this limited palette and exploratory form of painting.

The Dutch have an expression, “fine painter.” I loath this expression, because it tends to force an artist into a position where “fine” (as in detailed, not loaded with spontaneous dabs of paint) becomes the goal of painting. “Fine” or “coarse” are of no interest to me as goals, only as means.

Do you sometimes switch between very different modes of expression, whether in painting, drawing, or photography? Do you think in doing so you are trying to find difference approaches to the same expressive goal? My feeling is that I am doing that, that there is an unity. This is part of what makes its so exciting.

Also by Karl:

How to Store Oil Paints

oil paint tube

  1. Tube Trouble?
  2. The Greatest Invention Since the Paint Tube

How to Care for Brushes

oil painting brushes

  1. Turpentine Trouble?
  2. Storing Brushes
  3. Cleaning Brushes
  4. Shaping Brushes
  5. Transporting Brushes

Things to Ponder


  1. What is Art?
  2. How to Make Art Last?
  3. Is Art School Worthless?
  4. Why is it Difficult to be an Artist?

Frames and Framing

  1. To Frame or not to Frame?
  2. Internet as Frame
  3. In real life, the frame matters

Painting from Life vs. from Photos

plein air landscape painting

  1. From Life by Zipser
  2. From Photos by Bodner
  3. From Life by Bartman

How to Blog

  1. How to Write the Perfect Blog Post?
  2. “Bloggers have to Earn the Right to be Read”
  3. How Should Artists Blog?
  4. Can You Create in Public?