Thursday, November 1, 2012

WHERE ARE YOU TRYING TO GO?

COLORADO CROSSING    12x16   oil on canvas panel
These are the last of my five entries for the Columbus, Texas Paint Out.  The quickdraw event and judging will take place on Saturday (Nov. 3).  The paint out has been a fun and helpful experience for me.  Competitions have a way of bringing focus to the things you hope to include in your paintings.

In a recent blog post of The Painters Keys, Robert Genn wrote about the benefits of going out to paint with a list of what you're looking for.  This is something that I've done as a habit since the timeI began making a focused effort to improve my paintings.  The list        
STUCCO HOUSE    9x12   oil on canvas panel
evolves as I grow. Certain things become ingrained revealing new areas to work on.

Here are some items on my current list:
• a clear motive that I can radically simplify and visualize as a finished painting
• a clear notan design
• 3 to 5 major shapes
• 3 value groups, one dominant
• 3 spatial planes, one dominant
• focal area contrasts (value,   temperature, edges, size)
• variety of edges (soft, hard, interrupted, broken, lost)

The list can easily become overwhelming, since there is really no end to the things I can  learn as I'm trying to get at what I want to say.  But, the trick is to bring a conscious focus to a few things that I know I want to see in my paintings.  Without a map and a clear destination, we may cover a lot of ground, and stumble on some nice things, but we're likely to waist a lot of time and energy, and arrive nowhere in particular.  It's expedient, and a lot more fun, to know where you're trying to go.  

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