Sunday, March 3, 2013

Maze V

1.96 The Maze V. I really struggled trying to create depth in this painting. I left the dark of the central arch for last and had been pleased with the progress until I finished that last section and stepped back to look at the painting. Instead of a pocket dug into the sandstone with an oculus high over the rim in the shadow of the alcove, it looked like a wall, flat to the viewer, that had been painted brown. I realized that I had let shapes and colors from different planes mingle together as I had layered them. This pulled the background up and stuffed the foreground down into one flatish plane. 
I went back to try to segregate the planes again. The orange-y highlights had all been the same shade because I had imagined them to all be part of one continuous wall that wrapped around from behind the arch. I decided instead to use different shades with defined borders to emphasize the distance and position of the features. I thickened the rim of the alcove and blended a few shades of brown into the ceiling in an attempt to suggest the form of the arch. 
I've always been intrigued by the idea of suggesting a form only using the shadows that it casts. Here the shadows below the alcove suggest that it reaches out over the rim of the wall it is dug into. I thought about including a highlight where the sun would be shining through the oculus from behind the alcove but worried that it would look unnatural as it had when I had done it in a previous painting. I'm still not satisfied with the result of these efforts but I think that I will need to start over again fresh rather than continue to muddle this painting. 

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