When you are outside looking at nature the value range of your medium is very small, while the value range of nature is huge. When I am trying to create something that I see and feel, like very, very bright back lit trees, I go darker and brighter if at all possible. I push both extremes. You look at what nature has to offer and then look at your painting to see what it needs. I am not trying to copy nature! Nature is my reference and offers up ideas for creating a painting!
Edgar Payne says,
"Nature is not the least concerned with artisitic attributes, although she has prior claim on the artist and instists that her qualites receive first attention. If she is to be represented, she demands that she be not occasionally but ofen consulted. Otherwise there is liable to be trouble."He also says,
"The human mind has an enormous capacity for storing knowledge and conceiving ideas, yet is infinitesimally small compared to nature when it comes to making suggestions for pictorial expression. Therefore the artist must conclude that while he needs to assert his artistic powers he must also recognize and respect nature's capacity and variety, which is so much greater than his own.
Though the painter may have the gretest possible talent, excellent training and most noble ideas or concepts, he is still dependent, to a very great extent, uon nature. To her he must go for ideas to be translated. A pictorial representation is always a translation. Nature suggests ideas for interpretation, the artist supplies ideas of how the interpretation is to be made."