Thursday, July 7, 2011

River Bend

1.40, River Bend. Painting progression. It's been months since I've painted anything, with a new job sucking up much of my time and even more of my motivation. Having a two week shutdown has given me a chance to dive back into painting. I unintentionally picked a subject very different from what I normally paint with mixed results. Yes, its still a desert landscape but it is aerial and the features are on a completely different order of magnitude than what I usually paint.

I start out every painting with the intention of creating something simple and abstract and then slowly drift towards a clear representation as I obsess over details in the scene. I get caught up in painting shadows and add highlights where I think the stone looks too flat. Painting a scene from such a distance gave me a good opportunity to avoid intricate detail. However, each time I stepped away from the painting, I wasn't satisfied and went back to add in more details until I got stuck somewhere in between, unable to add any more detail and well past the simplicity I was striving for.

Another challenge for me was the perspective; although the sun is elsewhere it could be called "sun's eye" perspective. Shadows are much different from a perspective on the ground. From the ground, they are clues to the shape of an object. From this height they are merely clues to the position of the object with respect to other massive objects. I really struggled conveying this.
Also for some reason I chose a really massive canvas for this, and used big brushes which always tough for me because I like to focus on detail. I'm already well into another similar painting, trying to apply what I learned here...