Monday, August 28, 2017

New Work: Contrasts on the Lake, oil on canvas, 36 x 48

Contrasts on the Lake oil on canvas 36 x 48 inches  Framed $8450.

I had this very basic idea of light moving from right to left across two lines of trees along a lake. Once that was painted in I felt pretty good about it. Later that evening I was showing it to another artist online and it hit me that I didn't fully pull it off.

In the course of working on these canvases that is often the case when viewing them later. Improvements can often be made and I was a bit excited about figuring out how. My plan was to make the front line of trees more distinctive than the back row and to add more contrast in the sky in order to heighten the effect of the brightest trees on the right.

First things first - more contrast, so I loaded up some dark purple and quickly brushed it in along the top of the trees. It immediately changed everything! Suddenly the painting had a lot more power and drama.

The second move was a subtle but important one, adding the vertical trees along the front tree line. Now the painting gained complexity but not at the expense of the original idea of simply moving light across the picture plane.

There is only a glancing reference of trees reflecting in the water, just enough to anchor them. Now I felt free to use the rest of the water below for whatever I felt was best for the composition. I wanted more light in the painting overall, so the addition of the modulated yellow band made that happen. I felt it was also important to run that yellow ribbon across the entire canvas. Because the yellow design is wider at the left, it gives the impression of a left to right movement and creates a counter point to the bright yellow trees at the far right. There is a nice complexity in this work but it is understated almost to the point of abstraction.

The trees hold their position as the light moves over them and they are further enhanced by the contrasting color and movements of the sky and water. What was once a wisp of an idea became a real place were the effects of nature can be observed and enjoyed.

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