Saturday, June 30, 2012

Simplifying Plein Air Subjects

Forest Glow
9 x 12
I always aim for simplification and abstraction when painting outdoors; my goal is to capture one thing per painting in a clear, concise way.  But nature is filled with tiny notes of colour, texture and detail and my goal is often hard to achieve.  I get caught up in the "just one more brushstroke..." mentality.

This painting stayed true to my intentions.  While the layers of foliage and the textures of tree trunks were exciting subjects, too, I ignored them as much as possible and focused on the light striking the middle ground shrubs and turning them a brilliant yellow-green.  I sacrificed all of the interesting individuality of the trees (you can tell it was painful for me) and made them into a homogeneous mass.  There were cool, purple notes  in the shadowed trunks and that worked well to set off the warm, glowing area.  Using a complementary colour scheme of purple and near-yellow, I was able to emphasize my focal point and the point of the painting.  

I enjoyed painting the little flourishes of branches and colour changes within the mass of trees, as well as the negative shapes in the sky, but the painting has a strong, simple design that becomes clear when you squint at it, eliminating these small details.

I love it when a plan comes together!


Bobbi Dunlop said...

And you really hit the mark with this painting, Ingrid! Thanks for sharing your insights and thoughts ... words to paint by :)

Ingrid Christensen said...

Thanks, Bobbi!
My motto will be: Less is more. I wonder if I can stick to it...

suzannepaints said...

This is a very nice piece. Strong with a clear picture of the time of day and the scene.

Ingrid Christensen said...

Thanks for the great comments, Suzanne. I'm pleased that you found some good stuff in this piece!