Mon Ami Gabi is a lovely French bistro in restaurant row in Bethesda, Maryland. It's very popular at holiday time, with its festive lights and cheery interior. As I was painting, a waiter reported for work in his white top and black pants and shoes, and I just had to add him to the picture. I'd been planning to add a passerby, but the waiter was a gift!
I tried to paint a bit more loosely here. I made myself use mostly big brushes -- size 12 and 10 flats, for you art geeks out there. Big brushes force you to focus on big shapes at first instead of getting caught up in detail. Detail is great, but if you don't get the big shapes right first, the details will inevitably wind up in the wrong place. Also, big brushes speed things along. My grand plan is to paint larger works outdoors, and to do that, I need to cover the surface faster.
Also, it's a treat to paint plein air in December! Here's hoping for more good weather. But this year I'm also determined to get outside more even when it's cold and snowy. Please remind me about that when I start wimping out.