Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Skull Arch II

1.79 Skull Arch II. Skull Arch is a perfect example of the kind of subject that suffered from too much detail in my earlier attempt to paint it. Last time, I was preoccupied with creating some kind of starburst in the sky behind the arch, replicating desert varnish and texturing the stone. What I missed was the powerful shape of the pothole arch. I made the rim too thin, sapping its strength. I included so many little crumbly shadows in an attempt to make it look "real" but they only made it look flatter. This time I chose to focus on the shape of the arch, forming the small scattered shadows into bigger chunks of shade. I made sure that the rim appeared thick and strong. I'm trying to not be afraid of painting large areas of the canvas black-brown. I used to always worry that it appeared lazy to just block out a large section of the canvas with what was essentially devoid of visual information. If there is noting to see here, why is it in the painting? But I realize that the context of the lighted subject is important and by including these large areas of shade, the context is somewhat built into the painting. 

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