Before leaving for my recent two-week road trip through South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota, I gave myself an assignment: to do a color study in watercolor each day of the trip. I only ended up doing six studies, two on each of three days of the trip, but continued after we got home, relying on memory and photos to complete the series.
I would do two pieces each from the same location or moment, using the same or similar colors. Sometimes I would do the first piece and then decide that the colors were a little off, and adjust them for the second piece. Other times, I couldn’t decide which were the correct colors, and the two pieces would show a different view of the same scene. This would happen whether I was working on site, from memory, or from photos.
Now, looking at each set of two together, the shifts in color, shape, and composition evoke a sense of time passing, light changing, or the feeling of seeing things in a different way every time you look up.
This is the very definition of what happens during travel: it’s about experiencing things (scenery, in this case) in the present, and then interpreting what you’ve seen from a combination of memory and photographs. Which is the correct version? Is there a correct version?