Sunday, May 10, 2009

Calculating the Composition, Part 2

As promised, here is the completed painting, "Tulips and Poplars," 24 x 12." The transition from the initial block in of color/value entailed an abundance of layering with the pastel. This network of layers makes it possible to soften or strengthen the color quality, lose or find edges, modify values, and unify or separate objects in the composition.
My original idea was based on having a large poplar shape heavily weighted on the right, along with the tulip fields. With the addition of similar groupings of poplars, the solitary (largest and darkest value) tree on the right is now part of a pattern that pulls you through the fields to the distant structures. Using the Golden Section really helped fine-tune the proportions and placement of these shapes--then it was easier to build the fields, foothils, and pathways to appropriately fit the trees.
The balance of vertical and horizontal shapes, potentially dramatic vertical format and a quiet feeling, and sunny but subdued (cool) light--this was the goal.
Now on to the next painting!


  1. Adding the puddles that reflect the sky, and lead one into the painting is a nice intuitive touch! I am glad you have started a blog. Thank you.

  2. I think your lighting is superb. No really dark shadows, the light source seemingly lower in the sky, it's all very diffuse and definitely early-spring. Excellent! I wish I could see fields like this in person.

  3. Hi Susan,

    I can say that composition isn't my middle name :-).
    However I can tell that although the focusing point almost attracts the viewer's without traveling a bit around the landscape, the mentioned tree on the right with its large mass and the golden yellow field, add the necessary balance.
    In terms of palette, I find it to be well chosen, contributing to unify the work.

    Kind regards,