When it comes to painting I lean towards abstraction as opposed to realistic. I can do well with ambiguous, organic looking subjects. But when I got back from Wyoming this summer I felt so inspired by the landscapes that I mustered up the courage to attempt to paint one. I had begun with the lake and the mountain in the foreground and left it at that for a few months (ok, 5 months...almost half a year...). For my birthday my roommate gave me this small portable easel with acrylic paints and so I took out my neglected canvas and gave it another whirl. I have no training with landscapes so for me its a guessing game trying to figure out when it looks "right". But the truth is, it won't ever look "right". It won't compare to the photograph above or the picture in my head. If I stare at it all day and compare and compare I just won't ever be pleased with it (I've accepted that I'm no Winslow Homer). But it can stand on its own and there came a point during my painting that I had to forget the photograph and forget the image in my head and just paint what felt and looked right within the painting. It isn't fair to compare the painting to the photograph and it isn't fair to compare the photograph with the real vision. But each piece can stand on it's own with it's own beauty. (Hmm, seems like this could be applied to many life situations...but let's not get philosophical here)
I'm not sure if that's how the great landscape masters did things (actually I can take a good guess they painstakingly perfected every inch of their painting) but its how I decided to approach it and for me it will suffice.