Wednesday, May 07, 2008

"Forenoon, Mendocino" - Oil - 14" x 18" - SOLD

"Mendocino is one of the most picturesque locations in California. It has the feel of a New England town set in California light." --- SFG

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Work in progress...

I'm designing this painting so that the diagonal of the trees runs along the back, with more diagonals to show the slope of the hill and also in the water at the bottom. There are lines in the sky that are perspective lines. They are helpful in bringing the viewer's eye back to the center of interest. Next, I'll refresh the paint on my palette, to start with fresh, juicy paint.

This second photo shows how I've divided the space using the darks, which are put in first. I back away often, evaluating how each new area works in the composition.

The bluff in the foreground was added next in a broad, loosely painted way. This is still part of the darks and, along with the trees, forms the largest mass of the painting.

Next, I laid in the shoreline and a little bit of the water. Loose and sloppy is often the safest way to paint a foreground. Then I went to the sky, putting in a light color that is still dark enough to be able to make the sunlit buildings the bright spots in the painting.

I want to make the buildings really glow, so I put in the shadow sides carefully and even some of the roofs to add color and balance. These color notes will also keep the eye moving through the painting. I reminded myself to hold the brush at the end. When I do so, I make completely different strokes, more desirable strokes, than when I hold it midway or near the bristles.

Now I have the lighted sides of the buildings in and I will soften the edges where needed as I go to keep the focus on the most attractive element, the church. Softened edges also reduce barriers for the viewer's eye as they travel through the painting. Also, I've added a little action in the sky.

This is moving pretty well with the white buildings stair-stepping down the slope and the larger white building on the right to balance, and so I'll continue to develop the more interesting elements.

Here I'm nearly finished. There are always areas to tweek. I've added dark accents to lead the eye where I want it to go. Rather than reproducing the town's map, as a photograph would, the artist's objective is to produce a pleasing painting. With this one, I've moved the buildings around for compositional reasons and changed the foreground as well.

1 comment:

Kathryn Grider said...

I really enjoy visiting your blog and looking at the process of your paintings. Your work is wonderful.
Thank you for sharing the process with the world.