Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Design, Part 4
Coming Up Rosy
Original oil painting 18x24"
by Susan Roux
Just as I was pondering possibilities on how to adjust my painting, a special phone call came in. It was from the master himself, Don Hatfield. He offered helpful suggestions. Don't you just love a good critique? I embrace them. A non-biased opinion that recognizes your achievements and gives good advice on how to make your painting stronger. Good points and bad points, strengths and weaknesses are welcomed bits of information.
Having heard someone's opinion shouldn't mean that you jump right in adjusting what you've been told. After all it's still your painting and you make the final decisions on what actually gets changed and adjusted. Don pointed out the lawn edge. "Have the landscapers come in, cut out a corner of the driveway, put down new soil and plant more grass." Curving the lawn to draw in the viewer more gently seemed a very good suggestion. It doesn't remove it as a pointer, just swirls you in for a softer approach.
Softness. It seemed to be the overlying feeling of this painting. I'd been extremely cautious to keep my roses soft and after talking to Don, I began to notice other places that could use softening. I also found the entire painting too cool. I went in with yellows. I hit some of my flowers. I hit some of my leaves. (Key word here is some) I warmed the driveway and curved it in loosing the hard line at it's edge. I liked what it did to the painting. Softening that line just added to the softness of my blossoms. I proceeded to soften the tree shadow and the bottom of the brick wall.
I'm very pleased with this painting. I have to admit, it became somewhat of a scary thing to do it this way in front of you. I was really exposing my thought process. What if it all fell apart? I tried to ignore that crippling voice. I can do this, I told myself. I pushed on. I wouldn't accept mediocrity.
I was happy with the play in my roses. Using a variety of colors, as explained in Part 3, really helped this to happen. Some blossoms are left in shadow, others catch the light brightly, while still others are in softer sunlight. I was able to regain my focal point to the roses easily by adding lighter yellows. I also, ever so slightly, punched the darks around one blossom.
Thanks for bearing with me as I shared my journey through a painting with regards to design. Sticking to one original thought without wavering is essential for a strong design. Even when the paint begins to pull you in a different direction, as mine did in Part 3, don't let it win. Remember you're in charge of your painting. As I tell my students. You're in control of your painting even when you feel totally out of control! For beginners who struggle with brushstroke, this always gets a hardy chuckle. The decisions you make when choosing colors and where you apply them is uniquely your own. So take some time while painting to make good decisions and try to keep in mind, the power of design.
Thanks again, Don. You're such an amazing teacher...