Friday, February 27, 2009

Can't see the forest for the trees

Landscape preparation drawing
Where did all of these truisms come from? Probably from someone who is highly perceptive. When I return from my evening watercolor classes, I am usually flooded with feelings. If I feel that most of the artists have been successful that evening, I am rewarded with joy. Sometimes the feelings cause me to question how I have approached a subject....or, more importantly....how can I improve upon that approach the next time? Landscape paintings are popular....they make us feel good in a rapidly shrinking world. In fact, noted landscape painter Ann Kah recently remarked how her canyon painting had been manipulated as she was unable to stand back far enough to get a real sense of distance. Wow! That is so true.....if we move back far enough to gain distance, we are always bumping into something else..........profound. (kind of like shopping at Marc's) And so it follows that we sometimes lose sight of the forest for the trees. In all paintings, BIG FORMS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN SMALL ONES. So, the gesture of the grouping of trees is more important than the trees themselves. It is indeed possible to unite an already-painted grouping of trees that have been described too individually. Somewhere along the learning curve, however, an artist is able to see the grouping of trees as a viable form, then will work to separate the forms in a later pass. Both ways work, but the later, to me, indicates a more sophisticated way of seeing. Perhaps that just takes time. In this sketch, I have indicated the dark areas negatively, which are the spaces between the trees.

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