Saturday, March 3, 2012

Abstracting The Landscape

Controbando Adobe    8x10    oil
This was done in a little adobe village on the Rio Grande named Controbando.  The village is a Hollywood recreation on the steep bank of the river.  Everything has been set up catch the lighting just right for the background of the film.

However, this little adobe needed some help to make a composition suitable for a painting.  This where abstracting the landscape comes in.  We're not to be captive to what we see before us.  Rather, it's our job to take from what is there, and respond to what interests us most.  We edit, rearrange, and often omit things that don't help to emphasize the star of the show.  In this case, the adobe and its porch.

The base of the massive butte in the top right corner was appropriated from outside the natural scene.  Same for the red dirt hill in front of it, and the other bit of an adobe to the right.  The stark rectangle of the featured adobe needed some kind of foil to set it off and create spacial depth.  There was actually only one scrubby tree in the background to the left of the adobe.  I felt it needed more than that, again for depth and to give a bit more interest in the sky shape.  The pathway leading in from the bottom left was arranged to carry the eye across the little arroyo, and back to the porch of the adobe with its shadow pattern.  A good start for a larger painting.


  1. Hey Jimmy! Love seeing all your work from Big Bend - what a great trip that was! Your luscious palette and expressive forms bring it all back!

  2. Thanks for the preview of your Port A paintings.