"A Walk In The Garden"
16x20 oil on linen panel
Where does inspiration come from? Good question, not always so easy to answer. As I get miles and years of canvas behind me, I find I'm asking myself more questions like this. I teach and apply the fundamentals of building a painting in my classes, and in my own paintings these 'fundamentals' are for the most part now in the subconscious and I'm thinking more about the underlying abstract foundation and harmony of a painting. Naturally, I'm always working to improve this but I find my attention to what I put in a painting and what I DON'T put in a painting more important to creating harmony. I love texture, edges, and color! I also love the Natural elements that Nature provides, particularly water, prairie, and flowers. Well, and trees. . . :) So when I bring two of my 'loves' together I find myself inspired. Whatever light these elements might be bathed in can move me to want to paint.
"A Walk In The Garden" was inspired by my last visit to Door County during the 2012 Plein Air Festival I participated in. I painted this spot for the last 2 years during the quick draw and both times my paintings sold at the live auction which is why I don't have any record of these paintings, but I did take a photo of the location with my iphone. I was craving some rich color and this was it! I have so much fun painting edges and building up texture in this kind of scene, it ends up being all about that for me.
Initially in a painting, I think about the large sweep that carries the eye through the painting and the large shapes of color. In order to hang on to this, I start out by washing in my large color shapes with the local color of whatever it is I'm painting.
Once I have my composition and colors in I start begin to build up the paint. At this stage I'm really thinking of form. I tend to find myself working up my entire painting, not finishing any one area. Because everything is relative, it would be difficult to know if it's 'right' unless the color next to what you're working on is there. This helps me to keep harmony in my work.
Starting to decide what little detail flowers need to be there and what ones don't. At this point I'm pushing and pulling the paint, putting one edge in against another creating interesting positive and negative shapes and edges, that's the goal anyway!