Thursday, August 26, 2010

Plein Air Decisions II

A friend wrote me to ask why I hadn't included the red-orange tree in the painting I did a couple of days ago in Newbury, New Hampshire.  She thought it would give the painting a fall feeling.  It's a good question.  Here's what I was thinking.

I wanted the church and the strolling couple to be the focal point.  Accurately reporting the scene with that one orange spot would have immediately drawn attention to it since brighter warmer colors attract the eye more than cooler, neutral colors.  Furthermore, it would have been an isolated color among all those blues, greens and neutrals.  A good painting features repetition, so I would have had to repeat that orange somewhere else in the painting, further distracting the viewer's eye from the focal point.  Finally, it's a summer scene!  I wanted to report the day that I was there.  A fall scene would have to be a studio painting, and I'm mostly a plein air painter.  

So, artists really do think about line, color, direction, balance, texture, placement for emphasis, and that means making decisions to support a unified work. 

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