What Makes A Painting Work Art Blog
A scant few oak leaves had just begun to color. The oaks grew along the edge of a Sierra trail in a place that would have been awkward to set up to paint. I photographed them for later work in the studio, framing the scene with the camera as I intended to paint it. It was horizontal with a great deal of the dusty greens of late summer/early fall and the yellow leave in the lower left hand area, in a text book example of one of the perfect focal point locations. However, I did not like the first painting effort following that plan. There were large amounts of dark areas, with the eye drawn to the bright leaves and staying there.
In the next effort I went to a vertical composition, using only one third of the leafy area I had originally painted. Now I had something I like and hung on to for quite a while before offering it for sale. Even though vibrant yellows are much more centered, the image isn__™t static, as it__™s predecessor was. I__™ve given some thought to why this painting works. I think two things give it a sense movement. The first is the physical composition, the second is in the context, the choice of detail of subject matter.
Flow is implied in two ways. While there are many interesting negative shapes to keep the eye moving, the circular sweep of leaves and twigs is particularly effective in that regard. Color patterns also flow around the painting in circular pattern, with traces of yellows in the largely dark green and red-brown areas, and bits of green lingering in the yellow leaves at the right. Secondly a few leaves can remind us of the circular sweep of time. Many paintings place us in a season, as a picture blazing with red and gold leaves would do, as an orchard full of blossom would do, or as bare tree limbs reaching the sky do. By showing the beginnings of transition from summer to fall, this one taps into the continual change brought by the passage of time.