I have four paintings in progress at the moment. Normally I have two that are stuck and two that are moving. At the moment I have one that is sort-of stuck in the layout phase, one that was near completion (done now, but it was a simple one - see photo) and two that are acrylic and puzzles.
I like the square format. I discovered some time ago that when I work in rectangles I often end up with a square composition and a section of the piece that should probably be cropped, anyway. So I think in squares when I compose, and the last few years I gave in to that and work almost exclusively on squares. It makes me happier. I need to look at my photographs, some time, to see if it happens there, as well.
This piece is completely out of my head - unusual for me. I normally start with dozens of photos (which have nothing to do with the final painting, they just have stimulating shapes and composition) and draw and erase until something emerges. I plan to document the process on the next piece, because I think it's weird enough that it might help someone else who can't compose the "normal" way. I'd have been greatly aided years ago if I'd ever caught a glimpse of this way of thinking.
So this piece... I often walk around gardens or drive around beauty spots looking feverishly for the ultimate arrangement. I'm looking for that composition of shapes and lights and darks that will push all of my buttons. I never find it. I come close sometimes, and that drives me crazy. I want to move things around - this tree a little to the left and larger, that background a little lighter, or a little darker, the hillside steeper and lit from the other side, etc. So this is a first attempt to put on paper the kind of juxtapositions I'm looking for. I want steep, and edges, and roads, and shadows, and shapes that echo and repeat... This watercolor does some of that for me. I drew and erased and moved things around for several evenings until I got the basic placement correct. Then it's been mostly about creating the contrast I wanted, and that bleached out "too much light" look of summer in the distance.
So while this reads as a landscape, and that's part of what I like about it (the kind of landscape it is - the kind of place I want to be) it primarily tickles some of my abstract itches. It's primarily about that big curve, and the play between the two darker corners around that curve.
>>>> Appendix de Grenouille #18 <<<<
Grenouille actually hates to get wet. But he does sometimes have normal froggy urges. Yesterday he had a craving for a lily pad. We don't really have a water garden, and he'd hate to swim out to a lily pad, anyway. Good thing we have nasturtiums.