For the first few weeks of the new year, I've been painting several studies to improve my use of composition. I'm focusing on two of my favorite artists: John Singer Sargent and Andrew Wyeth. These guys were masters of composition - which is pretty much just the arrangement of shapes that make a strong picture.
Toward the end of 2016, I was doing a lot of commissions that drew my attention away from the stuff that I enjoy painting every day. While I love creating unique paintings for people that like my work, I felt that I really needed to get back to basics. So I'm doing a few exercises that will help me design my landscapes more effectively, and make stronger paintings with more impact.
Here's a study after Sargent. This painting really grabbed my attention because the colors are a bit different from what I normally use, and there's a soft glow to this picture that is just irresistible. The composition is simple and effective, and the painting almost feels like a dream.
Here a few studies after Wyeth. Without the eye popping colors of a Sargent, the composition is so important here - the picture relies on it. Look at those darks! There's something so visceral and true about his work, and I try to capture that here.
Another thing I'm trying to do in 2017 is paint every day. These small exercises help me do that. One of my problems of 2016 was thinking too much about what to paint. I'd get frustrated and end up not painting at all. But I learned that if I focus on the actual painting process, then I'll be able to pick up the brush every day, without being worried about what the final result will be. I focus on the paint, the brushwork, the arrangement of shapes to make something that's compelling to look at.
I also want to post my thoughts here more often - so don't forget to check your email every week to see what I'm up to!
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