After many years, I only began painting again in earnest about a year ago. One of the ways I decided to get started with it last year was to enter a Plein Air painting event (which is painting outdoors), held by our local art guild. You know, jump in with both feet.

That said, I did do some outdoor practice painting in the lead-up to the event. One of the places I painted, in acrylics, was a nearby pond. I worked and reworked it. And while it’s not great, I do like the colors in the painting (see below).

The Plein Air event is coming up again, and I’ve already signed up. And again, I realize that the more practice, the better. I’ve been hoping/expecting that by this year’s event my efforts would be way better than they were last year. This pond is now making me worry that’s not the case.

I’ve been interested in trying oil paints for a long while, and over a year ago bought a set of water-soluble oils at Michaels. I hadn’t tried them, for one reason or another. The other day I decided to give them a try, in an indoor practice session.

I pulled out a photo I took last year of the pond and gave it a go. Yikes. I struggled with the oil paints– I’ve been only using soft pastels or watercolors for months now. I’m letting it dry and will try to salvage it later.

Here are my two paintings of the pond–the one from last year is on top, oil painting work-in-progress on bottom.


Oh no. I was so frustrated with the oil painting (albeit still a work-in-progress) that I decided to try painting the pond in a medium I’m becoming more comfortable with: watercolor. So I pulled out my art journal yesterday and painted it there.

Sigh. Still not good, and now I’m even more discouraged. I will admit that I was dealing with a severe headache as I was painting in my journal, but was doggedly determined to do it anyway. What was I thinking? In looking at my results, I’m realizing that was a bad idea.


Oh well, I’ll do what I can to salvage the oil painting. Then I’m going to have to set aside the pond once and for all, if I want to have any confidence at all as I face this year’s Plein Air event.

UPDATE: Feb. 5, 2020

I did work some more on the water-based oils version of The Pond:

Is it great? No. Am I finished fiddling with it? I’m not sure. But I feel better about The Pond now, not quite so defeated by it.