Wednesday, October 01, 2008

"The Right Path"

"The Right Path" - Oil - 9" x 12" - SOLD
"This winding path through the grasses and shrubs at Cherokee Cemetery near Chico, California, led my eye to the storage shed, not a very glamorous subject except for its surroundings. The springtime blooms assert the promise of new life." --- SFG

Work in progress...

This is my reference photograph taken on a beautiful spring day in the old Cherokee, California, cemetery. Purpose of the demonstration is to show how a busy subject must be simplified. Just as I would when painting on location, I squint to see the masses.

After I'd completed the drawing, I started laying in the dark shapes. You can see how I cropped the left hand edge of the photo. This moved the small building to as better location as a focal point.

Here you can see how I've connected the areas of similar value. This is an important technique that succeeds in simplifying this subject that could too easily be broken into so many small areas that the forms would be destroyed. If I painted each small value change at this stage, I would lose the relationship of the shapes and confuse the viewer.
I've still got big simple shapes in this flat design. The edges do more to define the objects than any detail.
Here's the canvas completely covered, including the sky. I've held onto the connected shapes, even extending them all the way across the canvas. Notice the light area for the spirea that stretches all the way across, even though it's very soft and vague on the right hand side.
The last photo shows the painting with the signature in place. The painting went really quickly because I started with the big, simple shapes and controlled the edges as I went. I darkened the tree to divide the sky space in an interesting way. Once all the shapes were well established, I could pay attention to variety in my brush strokes and colors. These were laid on top and add interest for the viewer.

1 comment: said...

wonderful artistic interpretation!