I decided this visit I would try and paint on location. While I don't often paint en plein air, I get together with some good friends throughout the summer back home and try my hand at landscape. Its an amazing sensory experience, hearing people chatting, children playing, and all of the great sounds of nature spilling over into the work. As a studio painter I am overly aware of these stimuli working outside and understand the seduction impressionistic painters must have had working in some of these same locations. I couldn't help think of Sargent's painting "Luxembourg Gardens at Twilight".
I remember seeing this painting in high school when I was first exposed to a lot of his work. I was so taken with his fluidity and poetry, and the miraculous economy that was employed to capture the 'impression'. Sargent always seemed to make more sense to me than the other impressionists. The work had the hallmark identifiers: that it was carefully observed, yet painted quickly, but was happily devoid of the stereotypical palette and mark-making. I've always enjoyed how daring Sargent was in his approach, a seemingly ruthlessness that kept the viewer on the edge of his seat as the dance between abstraction and surface, and subject matter.
After a light breakfast, we arrived and walked through. Here are some pics I shot on our way in.
We chose a spot, near the wading where Sargent had painted "twilight". A few days before I left, Mary Beth suggested I purchase a Pochade 8" x 10" cigar box and so I ordered one and had it shipped overnight. I was surprised how light it weighs and the ease of set up. We spent the morning chasing the light.