Saturday, August 11, 2012


PEDERNALES CLIFFSIDE    16X20    oil on linen
Sometimes it's good to just go for it, and see what comes out.  If you're painting regularly, which is the only way I know of to improve, you get to a place where you just feel like something's about to happen with what you're doing.  It's an accumulation of what you've been working on, what appeals to your gut, and where you sense things are going.  That's what's going on here.

I've been concentrating on improving the value structure of my paintings and getting away from painting "things".  I want to be in that zone where I'm thinking more about shapes, values, pattern, color, edges, design.  After all, that's really what painting is about, right?  Squint at this painting, and try to identify the big division of light and dark shapes.  It should look something like this.

 Hmm.  I see some problems with the lack of simplicity in all those finger shapes.  That's the value of thinking about a big simplified pattern. by grouping your lights and darks into simplified groupings you improve the chance of coming up with a successful painting.  When you begin to lay in color, you can mix your colors to fall within the shadow family or the light family.  This is what gives a painting punch.  You can, also, juxtapose cool and warm colors in both families, which will make your color more exciting.

I intentionally pushed the chroma (intensity or vibrance if you like) on all my colors beyond my usual choices.  It was a lot of fun to paint this, and I'm going to experiment with it more.  Try it yourself.  Design a big, simplified light/dark pattern, and just let it rip!


  1. It turned out so pretty! You make it look so easy, I need to try my hand at it!!!
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    1. Thanks, for dropping in, Carmen. Pick a subject. Organize the simplified light and dark shapes. Paint only shadow colors into the dark and only light color into the light. That's your lay-in. Then, do what you think it needs to bring things together. Have fun.