Friday, May 7, 2010


Quite often students ask about where to take a painting when they are struggling at some stage.  This often occurs when they begin to see other possibilities in addition to their original concept.  Normally I suggest that they continue with their original intent, noting the other possibilities.  Then do another painting with the new concept.  It often produces new learnings or a new direction.

A small group has been painting at the Alton Mill pond.

My first painting concept was to show the old mill in the sun, minor in shadows.  That meant I had to eliminate the new "addition".  The new addition bothered my aesthetic and I found myself reaching for composition (in addition I had another experiment underway at the same time).

Old Alton Mill, 10x12, Oil on Board

The structure dominated the composition to the point that there was little context of the Mill in its setting.

Here is the mill as it is today.

Misfit, 10x12, Oil on Linen on Board

Even if you start down a path that you find not to your taste it is your job to make a painting out of it.  That can be quite a challenge when you are not attracted emotionally.  The alternative is to scrape it off and start again.  I prefer the "make a painting out of it" approach.

Or you can start another after your effort to make a painting out of it.  Here, I turned and looked to the head of the Mill Pond.

Incoming, 10x12, Oil on Board

It goes to show you that you don't have to go far for a painting motif.

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