Monday, December 5, 2011

Set a Spell, Set a Mood

In the grassy, or should I say weedy area behind our camp I plopped our old Adirondack chair. The original intent was to hide the cover for our well, which is bright blue and stands about 2 1/2' high, and doesn't exactly go with the "lake in the woods" rustic setting. We don't do a whole lot of mowing up there so after a few weeks the weeds overtook the area, growing up and around the chair. I took a few photos of the scene and based this painting on the photos.
When working from photos it's important to know when to put away the photo and just let the painting take on a life of its own. Photos are great for reference, helping with placement of objects in the picture, and keeping things in proportion. But photos also give us too much information and it's important to know what we need to keep in our painting and what we need to let go of.
First decide on your focal point. This is where you want viewers to concentrate most of their attention. The focal point can be one object or a group of objects. Everything else in your painting is subordinate to the focal point. But even though areas/objects can be subordinate, they are not unimportant. These areas/objects should enhance the focal point, either by placement, color or lighting.
In the painting pictured here, "Set a Spell", the chair is the focal point. It is painted in a more detailed manner than the vegetation in the background and the other objects around the chair. The photograph that I based the painting on, pictured more details in the background; I chose to leave those out because they distracted the viewer from the focal point. Leaving the background less detailed and more impressionistic lends a somewhat dreamy quality to the painting and invites to viewer to "Set a Spell" and enjoy the moment.

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