Monday, October 18, 2010

"Spruce Tree House at Mesa Verde" (oil on linen; 8" x 10") sold


As a watercolorist, I have always had trouble with texture and edges.  My paintings were design-driven and full of hard edges; I resolved the issue of texture by not painting grass, trees and such.  Since I turned myself into an impressionist landscape painter working in oil, I have loosened up quite a bit, although I continue to battle with trees.  As my teacher, Sara Linda Poly, says, you just cannot do without trees in a landscape.

Recently, however, it dawned on me that the reason why my watercolor paintings were so full of hard edges was often because of the subject matter.  I am drawn to geometric, linear, man-made structures.  The above is a plein-air painting, titled "Spruce Tree House at Mesa Verde" (8 x 10"), that I did in August.  I was attracted to the famous ruins like a bear to a beehive.

The ruins and rock formation didn't take much time.  It was the spruce trees that made me sweat; I had to work on them after I returned from the trip.  As I am beginning to understand better what I desire to paint, I now allow myself to include in a landscape painting the man-made, geometric stuff (buildings, sculptures, bridges, etc.)  A happy compromise, I think.  You have to paint what you want to paint.

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