Friday, June 29, 2012

Neighborhood Stroll 1, pastel, 9 x 12
Neighborhood Stroll 2, pastel, 9 x 12
These are my demos from this week's pastel classes. The top one is from Wednesday's class, and the bottom from Thursday's.

When I started doing this series for my classes--and for my own improvement on this subject matter--with the house structures, I knew that I DIDN'T want to end up with paintings that looked like "house portraits." In other words, I didn't want to copy every detail of a structure to make it look exactly like the structure I'm painting. I just wanted to include structures within my landscape, and still focus on creating an interpretation of the landscape using my artistic "bag of tricks" (i.e., color, contrast, lost & found edges, composition, etc.).

Several weeks ago I completed a commission for a small company that wanted me to do a painting of their office building. In that situation, since they were paying for a painting of THEIR building, I had to make sure it looked just like their building.

However, if I'm painting a landscape with a random structure in it, I'm free to adapt the structure to make a good painting, rather than putting my energy into making it look exactly like THAT structure. I do try to be sure that my perspective (lines and angles of the structure) appears accurate, but besides that, I can adjust size/width/height (within reason), color, and take out/add in elements such as shutters, decorative items, etc.

You'll notice that my two demos look a bit different, even though they're from the same reference photo. My goal for both was to make a good painting, not copy the houses exactly as they appear in the photo. In the second one, I wanted to try a slightly different color palette, which is one small reason why they look different. Both were completed mostly during my demo time in the class (in the first hour or so), with some finishing up and fine tuning after class. So my goal was to quickly capture the lighting, create interesting edges and shapes, and decide what to leave in and take out. You can see at a glance that the foreground house is wider in the second one than in the first. No, I didn't intentionally make one wider. It's just that matching the exact proportions wasn't my top priority. I just wanted to make a good painting. I suppose that if I took more time, I could have gotten the proportions more correct. But I don't think that necessarily would have made a better painting, and with my time constraint, it would have taken my attention away for those other elements that are more crucial to making a good painting.

reference photo

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