Monday, September 22, 2014

Two ways to look at foliage

I find painting flora very challenging. I live in the Pacific Northwest where there are stands of trees everywhere you look. I love drawing and painting trees, but figuring out how to best interpret them in watermedia is an on-going challenge.

I have been a representational artist for many years. Right now I’m stretching my boundaries and learning how to abstract. This is a wonderful and challenging process that's forcing me to see the world in new ways. In service to this process I’m tinkering with different ways to paint masses of foliage. Here's what I've been working on this week.
"Foliage study #1" (casein)
In the small casein study above I've used a palette knife and calligraphy brush to make random marks that can be seen as leaf groupings.

"Foliage study #2" (watercolor)
In this watercolor study, I've used negative space to create shapes that can be read as non-specific plants and a distant forest scene.

Of the two, I like the second approach much better. It feels like a real place to me, even though it's not, and it reads as harmonious. Painting it was fun and interesting. For me, it's clearly the winner in my little art contest. Funny to think of it that way, but subjectivity IS a big part of art.

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