Evening on the Chatahoochee, Ed Cahill, Plein Air Painting

River of magic, French flavor plein air

Monet on Chattahoochee - Ed Cahill
Monet on Chattahoochee – Ed Cahill

That’s kind of a dramatic title, none-the-less I’m drawn to this beautiful section of the Chattahoochee as she winds her way down to the gulf. It so wide here and well used with people exploring, fishing and rowing their hearts out but I find that if you just sit and look for a while you see what really makes it special. It’s the light. I have an advantage that as a painter I’m spending a long time in one spot and I’m so busy that I’m not distracted or bored. You see how things change from hour to hour and it’s like a symphony that comes to a crescendo when the light is it’s most dramatic. This comes in waves too, like good music — as a painter I’m always tying to catch those moment

Morning on the Chattahoochee
Morning on the Chattahoochee

s when it’s at it’s most beautiful.

This last Saturday morning I spent a few hours retouching a 11 x14 view painted the previous weekend after making it into mush with some poor retouches in the studio. I am committed to not touching my plein air work after the fact—but fact is, I just can’t appear to hold fast on this resolution. Most are turned into a disaster afterwards as this one was but I have in a few cases come up with something nice. In the end only I know — or care. Above is the final version with the smaller view the initial work before my retouching. It’s so easy to just loose the fresh feeling that plein air gives a painting. In several cases I go back to the original area and give it some more paint —sometimes it works. I call this Monet on the Chattahoochee. I hope he’s not rolling over in his grave. You can see him in that boat—thinking “this looks like the Sein.” The morning air has not quite burned off and it coats the color with a purple haze. He is one of my favorite painters—nothing unusual but even though I have many favorites I have a special appreciation to his devotion to plein air. Interestingly,  it certainly appears to that he too touched-up his work after the fact.

Below is a small 9 x12 that was started late in the afternoon looking north on the river. Again this was transformed into a very dramatic and colorful vignette (three fancy french words in one post!) – but in this case I rather like it, so it stays as is.

Evening on the Chatahoochee - Ed Cahill
Evening on the Chatahoochee – Ed Cahill

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