I read a quote by Thomas Hardy in Rosemary & Co.'s newsletter which really made me sit up straight:
"My weakness has always been to prefer the large intention of an unskillful artist to the trivial intention of an accomplished one: in other words, I am more interested in the high ideas of a feeble executant than in the high execution of a feeble thinker." - Thomas Hardy
Of course, I would rather be the one with the large intentions and with high execution, but fear at this point in the road I am neither. I do, however, see that I am tending toward putting execution ahead of expression -- worrying about making it look just so and then it turns out rather heartless and banal. I think it comes down to just letting go and trusting yourself to do your best work at the point where you find yourself in the journey. Don't get in your own way is the best advice I can give myself. Have courage! Another aspect of plein air painting is that you really have to dig deep to say something that is not ordinary. I mean you can look at dozens of paintings of landscapes and then one will pop out as capturing that which isn't readily seen, a different angle, an unusual expression that grabs you. It takes a lot of effort, a lot of attention and a lot of intention.
Here are two recent ones from Maine.
Lobster is Our Business, 9x12, Oil
I think I lost the painting by focusing on the drawing too much.
Leaving Port Clyde, 6x6, Oil
I am happier with this one with its greater economy of brush strokes and masses.