February 20, 2013

The Main Thing

View over San Ynez Valley, 8X10, oil





















"The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing" - Steven Covey

This is one of my favorite quotes, and my students often hear me parrot this phrase.  In composing a painting it is important to decide just who the "star" is.  I was driving through the San Ynez Valley just north of Santa Barbara CA, thinking I would paint the valley, with it's rolling hill and oak trees.

STAY LIGHT ON YOUR FEET

Then I saw this scene.  The fog was just lifting on the distant hills and the road wound around this sun drenched Eucalyptus tree.  My plan changed - the main actor in this painting was going to be the Eucalyptus tree, and the valley would just have to come second, as a "supporting actor" so to speak.

KEEP FOCUSED, AND KEEP IT SIMPLE

When painting outside it is so easy to be excited about many pictorial elements at the same time.  I find it hard work to remind myself you can't do it all in one painting.  It is no different that trying to give a speech without having a main theme or point - your audience will get confused, and you will have very little impact.  They will not remember your speech.

When I decided to make the Eucalyptus tree the main part of the painting I gave it a large percentage of the canvas space so I would have some space to explore the interesting shapes and colors;  the valley quite neatly settled into second place.  Gotta love it when a plan comes together.

COME  ON AN OUTDOOR PAINTING ADVENTURE

I am taking a group of painters to paint the Croatian landscape on April 30th.  To find out more CLICK HERE.  


3 comments:

  1. This is beautiful. Really enjoyed catching up with your blog. What a great painting. There were so many amazing views - I could have painted many more too.
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