Friday, June 8, 2012

Ten Years in Business, pastel, 11 x 14
I was asked to paint this office building for a small company in my local town of Roswell, GA. The employees want to give a special gift to the owners to celebrate their ten years in business. When I was told where the building was located, I was first hopeful that it might be one of the many charming old buildings that line the quaint streets of historic downtown Roswell. However, I must confess that I was disappointed to find out that it was a newer building. Basically a rectangular block of bricks with columns. A nice clean, handsome building, but not the charm I was looking forward to painting.

I've discovered over the years that boring subject matter can often make good paintings. It forces me to dip into my artistic bag of tricks to create artwork rather than merely copy my subject matter. By "bag of tricks" I mean things like manipulating hard/soft edges, becoming more interpretive with color, increasing the depth with color temperature, creating a more striking composition, simplifying the shapes to form a more abstract painting, etc. These are just a few of the "tricks."

With this painting, I tried to focus on exaggerating the difference between the hard and soft edges. I also got a little interpretive with the color. Regarding edges, I carefully chose where I would sharpen edges and define detail, and where I would soften edges and simplify things or, in some areas, completely ignore detail. With the brick siding of the building, I wanted to define only just enough for it to read as brick, but without actually rendering bricks.

I started this piece (done on La Carte paper) on location and finished it in the studio. Just delivered it today.

Coincidentally, when I recently asked some of my students what type of subject matter they'd like to tackle next, "buildings" was requested. Sooooo, I guess I'll be painting more buildings!

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