Monday, September 24, 2012

Composing, Squint and Simplify

Here we are painting with friends on Friday at the fence lines at Scotsdale Farm.  It was overcast and changeable.  This set of fields with its rolling hills and old fence lines is quite interesting.  In the prevailing cool light the turning vegetation had sophisticated colours, pretty much the whole spectrum in some form.  

All in a Row

The question,  "what to do with this, and how to make it interesting.

Scotsdale, October 10, 2010

The fields are a little more wild now that the government is caring for the farm.  A little more back to nature.  If you look closely here you will see a number of fence lines and weed patterns on a treed background.  The colours are near peak with very little structure showing.  But Friday was different.  Here is an artists eye view of the proceedings.

Lay-in Complete

Looking simultaneously at the painting and the scene a number of things come to mind.  A bit of a camera tilt!  The colours are not as advanced.  The cloud cover is not visible in the photo.  There is a fence right in front of the artist.  The artist has carefully chosen his concept.  It was loosely captured on a pencil sketch.  The most important tool employed to this stage was SQUINTING.  With this in place it was easy to establish the relative values of each shape in the painting - sky, background tree line, subject, field.  Keep it simple.  Also employing the squint the average colour and chroma of the shapes was established, the colours mixed and applied.  Note, the blue streak in the sky was not present till the end of this phase.

Also notice that there are no fence lines, no close up fence, no weed patches.  In short no detail.  It is easy to eliminate these by squinting.  They disappear.  It is much easier to mix the colours in the right chroma and values when you simplify to a few shapes.

Lesson, what you leave out may be more important than what you put in.  Simplify.

Also note that the field is a beautiful gradient at this stage.

This painting can be finished in the studio if desired.  Inference of detail can be inserted into the shapes as desired to provide eye candy and interest.  Every thing but the subject will be subordinated  (in the concept).  In fact it already is, including edges.  The studio work will enhance the star's role.  And the blue streak?  One stroke as the sky opened up.  He chased it.  Will be interesting to see the final after some studio work.

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