Thursday, May 5, 2011

I know, I's been quite a while since my last post. I've been painting, travelling, teaching...and now that I think about it, 3 seasons have passed since my last post. Sorry. That was never my intention. I've been living my life during the interim. I can't promise that I'll post on a regular basis (I thrive on stretches of solitude in the studio) but will provide insight into my artistic pursuits as I can. I won't post unless I have something of interest to share. I've been painting for a June gallery show, and have assembled about 20 or so new works. One of the pieces for the show is a 16x12" painting, using a photo reference from a trip to Connecticut a few years ago. A simple backyard scene that had some interesting shadow patterns that I wanted to explore. After doing a small color study, 8x6", I worked up a couple of pencil studies to see what format would suit the larger size. I decided on the lower study, and have included the page from my sketchbook. The downward arrows indicate the direction of the sunlight.
The painting was completed in one session, about 3 hours. Having some advance knowledge about potential problems, as well as enhanced ideas about which elements in the scene I wanted to explore more fully, were a result of doing the preliminary pencil and color studies. The shapes in a subject are almost always what generate my interest in painting the subject. These shapes are always modified, rearranged, or somehow tweaked to be more visually interesting. Beginning with pencil, Notan, or color studies formulates ideas about the subject's potential as a painting. I always do them.
Here's the painting.
Backyard Shadows
16 x 12."

My ideas about the composition were:

  • Using a vertical format to balance the low horizontal bldg while giving support to the red barn's height.

  • Linking the righthand sunlight shapes to the foreground vegetation (literally planting the building).

  • Using the shade pattern on the right to move you up through the roof, and then down the barn's roof line, and back into sunlight.

  • I used the Golden Section to set up the structures and their connecting shapes. The main compositional intersection is on the low building--where the sunlight and shadow pattern meet, near the bottom of the roof.
I've posted several new paintings to my website, and will post here again soon (promise) about another of the recent studio paintings for my June show.Thanks for your patience, and I always hope to have something of interest to share.


  1. Susan, it's nice to see your posts again.

  2. I'm glad you are back!
    Ever since I took your workshop I've been doing more simplified sketches and have been able to solve some problems from the very beginning. I'm having fun studying your sketches and comparing them to the final painting. As always, I love your colors.

  3. Hola, hemos agregado un trackback (enlace hacia este artículo) en el nuestro ya que nos pareció muy interesante la información detallada pero no quisimos copiarla, sino que nuestros lectores vengan directamente a la fuente. Gracias... realizar una consulta al dicom en chile