Monday, March 28, 2011

Editing a photo for the purpose of painting. 
How I approach the composition of a studio painting.

This is the original photo.  I've composed a this picture so there is a sense of balance.  The large mass on the right is balanced by the clutter on the left.  I am attracted to the soft flowing forms of nature contrasted by the rigid man-made forms.

I've begun to edit out some of the unnecessary passages using Photoshop.  Anything which I feel distracts from the basic composition I paint out.
I've edited even more of the clutter here and added some warm shapes into the foreground to break up the huge swatch of green.  Notice I'm not referring to "grass", "trees", "houses", at this point.  I find it helps to think in terms of masses, shape, value, color, pattern at this point.
I find it invaluable to have a black and white version of my composition to refer to while painting.  It's very easy to react to color while painting and forget that every color has an inherent value.  Here I can very easily see the value progression in the picture.  

"Spring afternoon"  6"x8" oil on canvas panel

Even though this is a tiny painting - it is the same way I would approach a larger canvas.  With a larger canvas - I would have laid a grid over my reference and then a corresponding grid over my canvas in order to transfer the composition accurately.  I find that painting these small paintings allows a freedom of experimentation.  In this case I wanted to use more palette knife. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


 10" x 8" oil on linen panel

This one is all about contrasts.  Fleshy vs sharp metal, light over dark, busy vs quiet (space), whole vs segmented.