the American Tonalist painters were the most successful.( will do a post on them later) Its very easy to just go for the flash and overdo it so it takes a sensitive brush and hand. Values are very close and color temperature( how warm or cool a mix) is critical. Also as plein air one only has a very short window of time. The only solutions is to try the same thing over and over until you accumulate enough memory and experience that you can work very quickly. Back in the studio I rely on that memory and my current method of making voice memos on my iphone to go with the photo, this reminds me of what I saw and I have less tendency to copy what the camera saw.
The Land and Sea and Sky Are One. 7x9" oil on shellacked paper
This is my first attempt, a studio work, on a very particular light that happens infrequently. There must be overhead clouds, mists and some clearing on the horizon to see this spectacular effect. It seems impossible when it happens and stops everyone in their tracks. Here at North Salmon Creek Beach there is a lot of wet sand to reflect it. I will need to paint this many times to capture all the subtle color and edge changes, but I really enjoy the challenge, and I'm very pleased with this first try. It took me two days of mixing to discover just the right color of that lit cloud. Of course this tone only lasts a few min. before it deepens more. I also love the seamlessness of the sky becoming sea becoming sand. It will take many paintings to master.