In a slalom whitewater event, racers are given 2 scored runs on a course, and the better score is the one that counts. Invariably, I had one run in which I repeated several of my practice mistakes, and one run that I "pulled out of the hat." Not that I did anything magically well. More that I was "on." Every move would coordinate with the currents,combining in a single run all the best moves I had done during practice. In one race, I pulled my best run with a boat that had torn and was gradually filling with water.
|Sunrise Light on Windows, 6 x 8 oil|
All previous paintings have taught you habits and ways of working. In one piece you can focus and apply these techniques in an elegant execution of your painting art. This is why paintings in limited time can sometimes be better than the ones we slave over. They are performed rather than worried into place.
Plein air painting lends itself to performance. There is a tendency in the studio to linger over the painting, to second-guess decisions, and to fuss around your brush marks. Outdoor painting requires a relaxed concentration, sustained throughout the painting process, brush strokes placed and left alone.