Tuesday, August 28, 2012

IMPOSING A DESIGN

CAMPSITE 17   8X10   oil on canvas panel
Much of the subject matter available in the Texas Hill Country is a matter of what I call "clump management".  I mean you're confronted with a rather homogeneous tableau of scrub oak, mesquite, and lots of cedar (actually mountain ash).  You have to put on your sorting vision in order to differentiate the clumps.  Then, you need to identify something that the painting is going to be about, or you'll end up with a painting of indistinguishable clumps.

It's actually great practice for learning to impose design into your paintings, which is, I think, what good painting is about.  Although, sometimes it's easier to do than others, at all times it's the artist's job to create order from what we confront.  Painting is just a lot of work if all you're doing is reporting on appearance.

Once while I was out painting, a man and his little family stood watching for a few minutes, and then just before walking off he huffed and commented, "Wouldn't it be faster to just take a picture?"  Depends on what you're after.  For me, the fun and inspiration comes from doing something with the information before you to raise what is seen to something felt and admired.

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