Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"Southwestern Wildflower Meadow" (oil on linen; 11" x 14") sold

"Southwestern Wildflower Meadow"
"Mule Deer in the Meadow" (oil, 9" x 12")

Bobbi Pratte's landscape class is winding down, with just a few more classes to go.  She suggested that we should all do some field exercises, that is, paint fields.  I chose a southwestern theme.  "Mule Deer in the Meadow" was the first one I did, based on a picture I took on the way to the Cedar Breaks National Monument in Utah during my family vacation in the Southwest last year.  I didn't know why the deer's ears were so big until a friend of mine told me that they were not ordinary deer, but mule deer.

I like the second "field" painting better.  It started raining by the time we got to Cedar Breaks National Monument.  At the altitude of over 10,000 feet, it was chilly although it was late July.  At one stop, we saw a breathtaking view of a wildflower meadow sloping down to the valley of spruces and firs.  The red flowers in the foreground are Indian paintbrushes.  There were also Queen Anne's laces and many other species in the meadow.

In my opinion, the biggest challenge in painting a field is to create the sense of depth.  What's in the background should stay there and don't come forward, no matter how interesting and beautiful they are.   On the other hand, it was really hard to keep balance between enough details and fuss in the foreground.  For instance, how do I not trap the viewer's eye in the foreground with brilliant red flowers in "Southwestern Wildflower Meadow"?

Making sense of the terrain is also a must, I think.  In "Southwestern Wildflower Meadow," it is clear that the meadow goes downhill, whereas everything is more or less flat in "Mule Deer."  I can imagine myself painting fields and meadows over and over again in the future to get to the bottom of it.

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