Monday, July 26, 2010

"Doghouse in Harmony"

"Doghouse in Harmony" - Oil - 12" x 16"

"Here's another version of this oft-painted scene. (I've lost count of the paintings I've done there.) Harmony is a charming, very small town near the California coast. It's buildings and occupants are as unique as the town's name. " --- SFG

NOTE TO ARTISTS: I'm often asked whether a work may be called "plein air" if the artist works on it after returning to the studio. In my opinion, if the concept and majority of the work is done on site, it is a plein air work. Still, I'm careful to conform to the rules of any event or website.

Here are the before and after versions of this painting:

Back in the studio, I evaluated the plein air effort. I felt that the trees were spotty and disorganized. Also, the direction of light on the roof of the building on the right was unclear. After unifying the trees on the left, I lightened the roof. To increase the effect, I darkened the hill in the background slightly and reshaped it to support the composition.

I removed the dark spot in the foreground on the left at the edge of the shadow (I had to use my palette knife to scrape the blob of paint there and restore the surface so it could accept the kind of brush stroke I wanted there. (Sometimes, I use sandpaper to do this.)

I lightened the front of the doghouse to make it stand out a bit more and added more sunlit vegetation on the right to overlap the roof of the building and make the shape more interesting. I changed the dark shape of the shadow side of that shrub, too.

Adding blue hues and sunny clouds to the sky was truer to the day's atmosphere. Lastly, I added Fido, electing to place him in the shadow. This prevents him from taking over the scene.

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