A burning questions I had was regarding “design”. When I attempt to paint a landscape in an unfamiliar place for the first time, I start painting with what I think is a good plan with “soaring” inspiration at the beginning but falls flat midway with no plan B or for that matter much interest in really following thru to completing the painting. What is my problem and how do I fix ?
- hurriedly set up and started to paint without really scoping out the location. I just set up anywhere because I had come to paint and now it was time to do it.
- allowed some joker to pick the location for me and was too nice to say" I am not happy here".
- chose a location with no foreground.
- failing to select what you are there to paint, instead filling the canvas with descriptive detail of everything before you with no particular selectivity or emphasis.
- Chose the scene because I thought it would be "easy"
- chose a location that was good in a verbal description but not composed of attractive abstract shapes.
- didn't ask my self "what is the reason I am painting here? What is it that appeals to ME about this place? Why is it special?".
- Made a matter of fact, literal description rather than a poetic evocation of the location.
- tried to paint in the style of another artist or make a kind of picture that I thought was commercial, but about which I personally had no feeling or interest.
- Didn't design the scene in an intriguing way, so the viewer glanced at the painting rather than being hauled in, beguiled.
- Failed to design interesting shapes that were different from one another and had varied interesting shapes rather merely an accurate but mundane transcription of the scene.
is to do thumbnail sketches, at least for a while. Do 2" by 2" sketches in a little sketchbook using a pencil. Each one might take two minutes. The first several will probably average, matter of fact descriptions of the view, what you would get if you just plopped your easel down and painted the "usual" thing . But in the subsequent sketches you will get the treatment that you might have used had you done several picture there. Try to do a few sketches emphasizing different aspects of the view. One might emphasize the trees, another the mountains in the background and another just on part of the view. Spending a little time searching for more interesting ways to view the same scene will often pay off when you get a "take" on a scene that is a little more considered and less obvious.
The world is full of average paintings. It doesn't need any more. You need to look for ways to make each one special.
I will return to the Homer history tomorrow or the next day. I felt this question was to good to ignore. Keeep those questions coming. I can serve you all better if I know what it is you want to learn.