Some years after I was living in Columbus, I lived with a friend in a rural area outside of the city. I did not have my own car at the time. One of the closest places that I could paint at was a small park. I rode my bicycle out to that location and looked for an interesting view. There were some cool old houses and buildings but nothing too amazing. I tried desperately to shoehorn an interesting composition out of that locale. It seemed impossible. My Rule of Thirds and my “x” and “+” area grids were not enough.
Plein air painting is one of the most tempermental ways to create watercolor paintings.
This process gains great benefits from practice drawing and photography.
What should you try to accomplish with these two resources at your disposal?
Because you want to control what your eye is looking for, you need preparation.
Start simply when looking for patterns. With your camera look for negative space. When you squint your eyes, you want to look for values that appear darker and ones that appear lighter.
Some of the letter shapes I see most commonly in nature are: “C”, “S”, “Z”, “Y”, “L”, and “V”.
Remember that you can be unconventional in your use of these patterns. When your painting is complete your eye should be drawn in by contrasting negative shapes to your point of interest.