Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Temptations of Complexity

In looking for subjects to paint on the hills and ravines around my neck of the woods, the combined textures and forms of various plants are intriguing to my eye, but also a challenge, as certain shapes and sizes are hard to execute with the blunt instrument of the pastel stick, and the variety of foliage textures can be daunting. In facing a 'persian rug' of patterns, I look for a breakup of the major shapes of the image plane to have a design that I can hang everything on regardless of the subject. I'm finding that value patterns, whether strictly defined by the effect of light and shadow, or mass of a form, or some combination, are what I'm relying on for this underlying structural support. There's a lot of drawing problems I'm encountering in these pieces, so much more work is needed on my part to really decode and even accurately get the proportions of certain forms down.
Tree trunks are analogous to the human figure in gesture, pose, subtlety, etc. I'm struggling with the simplest statements of this. Ferns are amazingly elegant, and I can only hint at that right now... 'there's a fern here'.. There's an endless variety of ideas to explore out in the big colorful 'mess' of nature. Spring is here...everyone get out and paint!