Thursday, August 16, 2012

Something to Think About

As I was studying the book called "Painting Better Landscapes" by Margaret Kessler, I found on page 24 a gem amongst the technical advice.  Even while you are still visualizing and planning your piece you need to consider the WHY of the painting.  Why are you painting this scene and what mood are you trying to convey.  She says, and I quote, "With in the limits of convention, paint the ordinary in an extraordinary way.  Don't just decorate: dramatize.  Exaggerate motion and color; vary the value range and textural quality.  By emphasizing or downplaying objects, manipulate the scene to engage the viewer psychologically."

There is freedom in this statement and as an artist I appreciate that I have artistic license to add or remove certain elements to improve my composition.  Of course I didn't need to read this in a book to know that as the artist the only boundaries that I have are those invisible ones that I myself have created in my mind.  Breaking those chains and tearing down the cobwebs that years of non-creativeness have left isn't always and easy task.  I struggle in my compositions with using colors and painting the randomness of nature.  I can stand back to observe my piece and realize after hours of work that I have once again painted my bushes to have a manicured symmetry and all lined up like little soldiers at attention and all my rocks are smooth round river rocks.

This is exactly why visualizing and planning are SO important.  I must see this painting completed in my mind before I ever start laying out my palette.  Sketching my idea out will  help me steer away from these composition traps and I am ready to begin.  So here is my inspirational photo and I will blog my steps as I work through the teachings outline in this book by Ms. Kessler.

This old homestead photo that we took while on our Missouri vacation is very near to where both my great-grandparents lived.  I recall both of their houses on the main dirt road that parallels the highway 133 between Crocker and Richland.  My mother was born in a house probably very much like this one there in Swedeborg.  I attended the little country school there for both 1st and 3rd grade.  It is this exact feeling that I want to evoke with this painting.  I want to stir up feelings that include memories of a vibrant house that is full of laughter and that now stands in decay because of neglect and misuse.  The memories are still very sweet because they are bigger than the outer shell made of lumber and penny nails.

Old House Ruins located in Swedeborg, Missouri

Ivy covered log located in what is left of the yard of the old house
Quick sketch made of house and log that I will use as my plan.  I am considering adding a old water pump too.

Memories of the Road Home- 16 x 20 Acrylic. This is the final rendition and I am pleased with the end results.  I wanted to inspire self-reflection as one looks back into the past.  I used several photos we took as we visited Swedeborg, Missouri on vacation this summer. This town is where my Grandmother and Grandfather lived, my mom was born and two sets of Great-grandparents lived. My roots are deep in this little town of about 250. When you spend time painting a scene like this you do a great deal of remembering about childhood, growing old, family and those that have gone before you.

In memory of:  Franklin Vail & Claudine Butler Miller (Mauer) 
                          Harry & Hazel (Morris) Miller
                          Clara May (Freeman) McKim 

No comments:

Post a Comment