oil on canvas 40 X 30
Steamboat Springs Center for Visual Arts
Over the years I have attempted a lot of oils and not all of them ended up as finished works. This piece was begun about three years ago and put aside.
Had I made a better start at the time, this painting might have essentially finished itself By offering a clearer path to resolution. Instead, the canvas was a muddy muddle without clear areas of focus. It was unappealing and I didn't have any ready solutions to take it forward.
This oil was in a stack of orphan canvases that needed help. My plan was to add three things the canvas lacked: contrast, drama and clarity. Thanks and gratitude to my teacher Wolf Kahn for those insightful tools.
The painting was already dark enough so that when I added lighter areas, the oil was immediately more appealing and happily, the contrasts began to emerge. Immediately I had a better composition to work with and more options presented themselves.
Greens are not usually a focus of my works but since I was pushing off with this older image, I wanted to gamble with a variety of greens in a way I hadn't attempted before.
To increase the dramatic effect and depth, a number of colors were tried in the background: pink, orange, rose, blue, and purple. There wasn't a color system at work, I was contrasting the greens with an interesting array of color to see what would work best. As it turned out, I found a way to weave all the colors together creating the effect of a left to right motion. It was a nice counterpoint to the predominantly vertical composition.
The last touches were the blues in the upper right foliage and the few bright red leaves. Both moves added complexity and additional points of interest in a subtle way.
In the end, it took patience, a bit more artistic experience and clearly seeing what was needed to bring the painting to life.
I'm going back into the orphan stack to see what I can fix next.