Saturday, August 16, 2008

For Susan - My Thought Process

This post is in answer to Susan’s comment on my last post. I hope you’ll find this view into my mind helpful. It was interesting for me to think about it again and figure out how to put it into words for the purpose of this blog. So, this is me doing my best to explain my thought process and exactly how I got to the finished product. The painting on the left is the block-in or first version – the one on the right is the finished painting.

In the beginning I had such a great time mixing colors I got carried away. I love teal blue and I found a way to get exactly the teal blue that I love so I was determined to use it. :o) It doesn’t look the best on my monitor so I’m hoping it does on yours, but just in case it would be the lightest blue color.

I painted the church which is my main focal point first and I liked the overall design and drawing as well as the colors I used to depict the dirt or adobe walls. It’s not a true representation of adobe but I liked the colors so I kept them.

As you can see in the first version (left) there was another cross in the foreground that doesn’t appear in the final painting. Somewhere along the line I decided I didn’t like that cross and its rocks so it didn’t make the cut. I tried some changes but never got it to a point where I thought it complimented the overall composition.

My next concern was the way the light colored background hills seemed to compete with the church not recede into the background. I loved that blue and the way the paint had gone down but I came to the conclusion that I needed to paint them in a darker color or a more uniform consistent tone/color, without pattern, so they wouldn’t draw attention to themselves. I feel that I accomplished this objective in the final painting.

Next I spent a lot of time thinking about the foreground – for awhile I admit I had no idea how to pull off the long, leading sweep of foreground. I knew I wanted some bushes but I had a major problem getting them to look the way I wanted them too. You can see the evolution from the beginning to the end. I’m still not sure about my placement but I do like the shapes. I also added some big pointy bushes to the extreme foreground to frame the whole thing. I think they work to frame the edges and pull the eye to the pathway which leads to the church.

At this time I liked what I had but something still didn’t seem right. I finally saw that the pathway was the problem – it was still light teal blue. After the background hills were painted in the brown tones the blue path was sticking out like a sore thumb. I realized it needed to be dirt color so it would blend and stop calling so much attention to itself. After changing the color of the path I realized I should paint the step in front of the door to the church a slightly lighter color to increase the contrast and help draw the eye to that spot and thus the main focal point – the church – at the end of the path.

To tell the truth there are still a couple of things that I’m not totally happy with but overall I like the end product and decided to stop, call it a painting and get on to my next project.


Frank Gardner said...

Hi Chris, I DO like how this one came out. You made a lot of good choices. I agree with all of them. The bushes up front seemed odd to me at first. But I like them there, so, I guess it works.

ChrisB said...

Hi Frank, Thanks - I appreciate your encouragement - I admire your work so it is special to get your positive comments. I hadn't noticed but when I cropped the final painting I cut off some of each side, just a little but effectively cutting of parts of those bushes. In the actual painting they are a little more evident and (I believe)don't look out of place. I realize it's a bit of a strange element for the overall composition but I like the way it frames and think it will look good when it's in a frame. Thanks again for looking and commenting.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Chris. Don't take "odd" the wrong way. It did not seem like the typical solution, and I like when the unexpected works.

ChrisB said...

Odd is ok :o) I thought it was odd too - usually would never think of putting in an element like that - the idea came into my head and I went for it. I do think it works and am glad you do too.

Susan Carlin said...

Well I got all caught up and hadn't checked back to see what you've been painting... and here you answered my question with a whole post! Thank you so much. I can follow your reasoning with each of the changes you made. I really appreciate you recreating the sequence for me and for everyone. So what are you working on now?