Friday, July 24, 2009

Art Question: Dealing with Transitions

This is a painting I am in the midst of discovering. As I transition into a new technique with my work, once in awhile, I come to a crossroads where I am not sure what is next.

I originally painted this entire canvas with the appropriate background colors for the different elements; grey-blue-green trees on the other side of the river, blue sky, blue water with some shadowy areas, green grass and purpley and pink sand areas. But, in keeping with my new direction, I wanted the trees to be lines drawn on the canvas. Once they were in, this seemed a bit boring and ineffective. I decided to have one tree painted realistically for contrast. This also seems to symbolize my own transition away from my formal painting background to a more symbolic and abstract technique.

I began to fill in the background with a solid color so the trees will feel more like a drawing. In the process, I changed a few things that bothered me: the base of the clump of trees, edges and the handling of bark. Now this is starting to feel better. The added simplification of the drawn tree area adds more pressure to convincingly portray the realistic tree. The contrast in painting styles means both styles will have to be strong enough to create a balance. I have a fear the realistic tree could look too painterly or too weak in terms of contrast.

I will deal with the realistic tree this weekend. In the meantime, I am not happy with the color of the background I painted today. It needs to be cooler and slightly darker. I was painting into yellow paint that was still a bit wet - this added warmth to the background color in some areas. Oh well, I will repaint it again later, but at least I know what I want now. As it is with any crossroad: make an educated guess, walk down that road and be ready to adjust.

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