I live in the real world. I have a full-time job. I have a family. If I am lucky, I get 4 hours of uninterrupted painting time on Sundays. That may happen 20 times per year. I live in Atlanta, so the chances of the weather being tolerable at the same time I am free are relatively slim. (Can you stand in 95 degree heat and paint?) Let’s be generous and say it happens 10 times a year. That’s perhaps 40 hours per year I may be able to devote to loading up my car, driving somewhere previously researched, setting up my pochade box, and getting real bugs in my paint.
Yes, I totally and completely understand certain artists who insist that the only way to learn to paint landscapes is go plein air painting. Yes, I understand you can only really see color and details with your own eyes. Yes, you lose a lot of detail and shadow color nuances by working from photographs. Of course, the light changes frequently. I get that, I truly do.
But I live in the real world, as I said. I would love to paint outside every day, but Life won’t let me at the moment. You can be sure that if my plein air painting time happens as infrequently as 10 times a year, I want to be prepared to make the most of it. Therefore, I make no apologies for trying to learn landscape painting in the studio with only occasional forays into the outside world. Will my progress be slower? Of course. But I will still be progressing.
Viva la studio landscape painters! Stop feeling guilty. Go forth and learn what you can, when you can.