|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.