Friday, March 29, 2013

A change of scale and a small lesson on composition

After a couple of weeks of smaller painting sizes I thought I'd leap up in dimensions. It's fun to change between sizes and it's interesting if you haven't done it in a while to see how differently you need to think about composition of the scene.  This is especially true with a full table, or wide composition like this one; finding a good compositional flow across the length of the table, but keeping the area of focus in the right place (or places) is critical and a fun challenge.

Outdoor warmth with Lilies
Acrylic on wood  36X46

When composing a subject I often think of 'eye flow' or where the eye will travel, rather than one focal point. One focal point is interesting enough, but I want to know where the viewers eye will move through my painting and that they will do this comfortably.

When composing a large bouquet in a landscape aspect, you need to consider how it will balance.  It's a non issue (of course) if it's placed in the center, but if you want to push it to one side, you need something to balance on the other side.  Here I primarily achieved this with color, the combination of giving the tall green vase a strong vibrant green color and the little shock of under painted blue above. It could have been done with a larger shape/object, but color/drama can achieve balance too, and arguably achieves the same goal in a more interesting way? There is still more body and complexity within the flowers on the left, but the eye is able to comfortably travels to the other side of the painting. The objects in the center step the eye between these two primary areas of the painting. All of this is then further reinforced with the 'v' shape of the white table cloth, (it draws the eye to the middle while the shapes and colors on the sides pull the eye back again).

 Detail - I love painting stamen!

Detail - It's nice to get up close, just to show the detail of the brush strokes and the under painting color.

A warm palette

Working in a warm palette range, never fails to let me feel good about the finished painting. I've really enjoyed pushing those rich tones in the foliage and plant pot against the warm bright cloth and background, makes for drama and dramatic color, the greens in the fruit help to bridge the foliage nicely!

Rhododendron bathed in summer warmth
Acrylic on board

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

smaller = quicker

Used this week to work on a couple of slightly smaller paintings. It's nice to occasionally scale down a little in size. Usually I like nothing better than tackling larger canvases, and I often believe my best work is to be found there. But a smaller size is refreshing change and it allows you compose a simpler composition which in turn can be produced faster. This added speed can give a spontaneity and freshness to the work - very alla prima!  Additionally, in cases there are subjects that just work better in a smaller size. For example doing a painting like "Outdoor Papaya & Melon', a study of just fruit is highly effective in these sizes, but it can be hard to make that work in a bigger scale.

Outdoor Cyclamen with pears and lemons 
Acrylic on board

Outdoor Papaya and Melon
Acrylic on wood

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Glad to be painting Glads

Here's last weeks painting of Gladioli. Like irises I love the tallness of their stems so I tried to  expand this feeling within the painting. This was achieved with a careful eye to composition and viewpoint angle. The 3/4 POV angle at first gives you the feel of looking down onto the table,  the long vase and stems are then subtly lenghtened by presenting the painting from this view point. I also ran one of my 'lines of dissection', as a long verticle line down the right edge of the painting, this subliminanlly makes the canvas seem narrower and taller;  thus it further elongates the flowers.

I chose to mingle a palette of warmth with greens, using the yellows to bridge the gap within the color structure, while also bringing warmth and light to the painting.

Gladioli and Pomegranates.
Acrylic on board