My daughter and I paid a visit to Long Beach Island recently and we had a ball! We did a little strolling and shopping, had lunch and iced coffee at our favorite coffee shop, How You Brewin Coffee Company, then ventured to a bead store and made necklaces. It was beautifully sunny, warm, and breezy. We hit the beach, and 5 mins after plopping in our sand chairs, a storm blew through. We hid under our towels for 20 minutes while it rained, and then voila! Sun poked back out and I got to painting! I had to grab my easel twice as it just about blew over. I had the waves on occasion lapping at my feet. So fun. This painting might have a few grains of sand blown into the paint! ;)
I think that when I paint from life rather than a photograph, I am absorbing the essence of what I am painting, seen through my eyes, and transferred to canvas. I think it adds a different "energy" to a painting.