I attended a Plein Air session with Kathy Delumpa Allegri, back in July. We went to a local Gresham, Oregon park designed to resemble a Japanese Garden, complete with bridge and beautiful plants. That bridge, though. Bridges are hard to draw. Mighty, mighty hard with all that perspective and all. Lol!
I've found that plein air is very difficult for me. It's like I forget everything I know about drawing and painting, and my work is consistently clumsy.
In a seeming switch of topic, I've been rereading Betty Edwards 'Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain'.
Line and wash seems to work better for me, and I wondered why. Betty Edwards book may have the answer. She talks about using the verbal/logical/step-by-step portion of the brain (the left side) versus using the non-verbal/intuitive/big picture right side of the brain.
Since I don't do much plein air, and one does view one's actual surroundings differently than one does a photograph, I believe I'm relying more on the left side of the brain. I've always been someone who lets the art 'flow' without prior planning. The left side of the brain isn't so good at that.
But I tend to draw more abstractly than I paint, thus I'm more likely to pull from the right side, which helps. The real solution, of course, would be to do more plein air and work on getting the left side of my brain to calm down and just butt out while I paint.
I was trying to do a idealized version of this scene, and it looked awful. I did the line work afterwards, which gave it more cohesion, and helped me figure out how to pull everything together.
For the second painting, I did the drawing first. The bridge was really giving me fits, especially with trying to decide how to weave it in and out of the tree.
Finally, I decided to go with a more abstract look, letting the bridge show through the tree. That way I was able to concentrate on the perspective. There are things I like about both. I've decided to concentrate on those things rather than the many things I don't like. That's also a right-brain way to look at things.