What Makes A Painting Work Art Blog
Sometimes the grand elements of a particular place are so impressive that they are painted by seemingly every artist that passes through. Meanwhile other potential painting ideas may be ignored. For example, California__™s Pigeon Point Lighthouse is one of the most attractive and painted of the Pacific Coast lighthouses. At a juried show I attended a few months ago, I saw a painting of Pigeon Point that captured only the rocky point below the lighthouse. It was an attractive and powerful portrayal of waves crashing upon the rugged rocks, and it was an award winner. The artist had looked at the famous locale from a slightly different and fresh viewpoint.
The reference for the painting I show here was a scene we stumbled upon once we turned away from a canyon side view of Yellowstone Falls and walked into the forest. It is not at all a typical Yellowstone Park scene, but it was an utterly charming little flower alongside all the lights and darks of a damp moss-grown forest floor. I photographed the scene, thinking I had found the composition in the viewfinder that I would use almost unaltered in the painting. As it happened, the flower was far too close to center, and a careful cropping improved value balance as well. This done, I knew I would have a nice pattern of dark negative shapes interwoven throughout the painting. In addition, pink to red elements are complemented nicely by the greens of the leaves and mosses. The deep pinks of the flower are largely permanent rose. Burnt sienna and cadmium orange contributed to the dried leaves as well as yellow ochre. The great variety of greens brought into play a number of blues and yellows including indigo, thalo blue, yellow ochre, gamboge yellow, and Windsor yellow. There was an enormous pleasure in all the negative painting to bring the moss to life from the blobs of green I built in my first washes.
It can be great fun painting major landmarks and allowing your personal painting style to make them special. Such paintings may also be very marketable to people who love those sites. Just don__™t let your awe with those great places blind you to the other paintable views.