16 x 12
Mundane things touch me more deeply than extraordinary things do.
I've got pictures on my computer of fabulous, famous sites from my travels, but when I browse photos for painting references, I never settle on these as options. Instead, I get caught up, once again, in the magic of small moments like the one above.
This was actually done on location in my favourite city park, but it could be anywhere. What I hoped to capture was a universal image: something that we've all seen and enjoyed, but, because it has nothing of real importance, is seldom painted or even photographed. I did take a picture of the place but it contains nothing of the wonder that I found there. It shows a tangle of trees and undergrowth and an area of light in the canopy. This reminds me, again, that I should paint from life, or, failing that, work really hard to notice what it is that I love about a scene. It'll be my memory, more than the photo. that helps to make a painting.
But even on location, I had to work pretty hard to show how special and luminous the place actually was. The tree trunks couldn't be just their mid-tone gray, they had to have a more definite colour and temperature. I find that purple enhances forest shadows and creates the mystery and magic that I'm after. It can also take over a painting as it did with this one on a couple of occasions until I stood back, reevaluated, and toned some of it down. Then, to compliment the blue and red-purples, I leaned the colour of the leaves towards yellow and orange-green.
It's not a realistic representation of what I saw, but it is faithful to the spirit of the place that day. For me, that's what art can and should be.