While the back of the house we rented in Mendocino faced the ocean the front entered through a wooden gate and down a winding path filled with flowers. This English-style garden was an Art Form that inspired us all! The placement and scale, warm and cool colors, and textures of the different flowers were like an Art Installation with plants. Naturally, we had to paint it as well. Because the garden was so opulent I decided to try to use composition tricks to tame the visual feast. Often, when the scene offers this much stimulation it is hard to know where to start and what to leave out. I settled on an X composition to lead you through the painting with the largest and brightest clump of flowers ( the yellow roses) placed in the lower third of the canvas. Then I fanned out from there keeping mindfully that the darks lead you through the composition but the warm lights grab your eye. I also tried to build up a rhythm in the shapes by playing on triangles. All these thoughts are going on through your mind while you paint Fast as the light is also changing. It’s kind of like speed chess or timed problem-solving. Great Fun but taxing. Still, like anything, the longer you do it the better you get. Two out of three of the artists had been on multiple trips with me but the “Beginner Plein Air Painter” was a fast learner. The trick is to learn without getting discouraged. Often artists are their own harshest critics and second guessing comes with the territory. After looking at the photos I am wondering if I should put a figure in this painting. Hum…what do you think?
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