The more often one paints the same thing the
more one sees deep within the subject. It is interesting
to try the same scene in different media, changing sizes and
areas of emphasis with each execution.
Find a beautifully rendered subject, whether trees, the human figure, even a vase of flowers, and the likelihood of the artist painting in that genre regularly is very high. Practice makes perfect. Even sketching out the painting in detail on scratch paper makes me see things I might miss if I jump right into putting paint on canvas.
This is a photo I took in the mountains one fall that for some reason always appealed to me. However, I knew that composition-wise it could be very tricky. It's not generally pleasing to put a dark, bold column the entire length of a painting. It would need careful balance. But fools do rush in...
Here are three "sketches" all done in watercolor altho on different kinds of paper and in different sizes. You can see that I left out all the foliage on the left side of the photo...I think I feared having two pillars of dark stripes on the piece. Mostly I was playing with background colors and shapes and not at all satisfied with any of them. I have a hard time getting a dark, dark in watercolor and can't seem to accept that.
In this version, still in water color and yet another kind of paper, I decided to abandon the idea of a dark, back lit tree and just use pen and ink for the interesting trunk surface. I'm liking it better (10 x 8) and think the colors work here.
But still, I decided one more go would determine whether or not I continued this study perhaps in a much larger format. So I switched to oils.
The Best View, oil, 7 x 5, framed
By now I knew that the tree had to be lightened somewhat and balanced by other trees in the background. I also knew that the fall colors had to be subtle to look as if they were distant. I like this rendition much better than any of the previous ones. It could be that I am much more proficient in oil as a medium OR it could be that by the fourth or fifth "study" I had a much better idea of how to handle the subject.
The verdict, for now anyway, is not to execute this scene in a large (24" plus) format. But I did satisfy my desire to see if it could be done from a composition challenge.
Why are we so resistant to that word "practice?" I think I will call it "preparation" from now on, it sounds more noble don't you think?
More from Marrakech soon, painting and painting.
Color FULLY Yours,