Sunday, July 9, 2017

Zeroing In on a complicated scene.

Below are some photos of a beautiful area in my neighborhood where I love to paint.  I have painted there many times but have only once produced a frame worthy painting. The rest have been unsuccessful attempts.  That has not kept me from returning to the site because, well, I'm stubborn.

The trouble with scenes like these is there is so much information and deciding what to include can be a challenge.  Painters new to plein air tend to include everything they see in their painting.  Using a view finder to limit the scene can be very helpful.  In a recent workshop our group was given the task of focusing on very specific areas at the above site.  We were to paint 4 or more small (6"x8") paintings that were simplified close-ups of compositions we found interesting.  Here is what I did-

I liked these little pieces much more than anything I have painted there before. The ones on the above right and the lower left are the exact same spot at a slightly different angle. I barely had to turn my easel. I liked the composition on the lower left the most so I painted it again on a larger panel.  My only reference was my small painting.  I did not use a photo.


Here it is (12"x16"), maybe not better, but at least I tried.  Larger paintings require more information and it is easy to lose the freshness of a small quick sketch.  That said, try making small studies when confronted with a big complicated scene. Zero in on something that interests you and see what you can do with it.  

Keep painting!
And thanks for reading.

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