Sunday, May 24, 2009

New England Barns

Today I needed to do a piece from start to finish. Too twitchy to work on something larger...

A photo in a post on Little Bang Theory, the blog of The Cunning Runt, was the model for this watercolor and ink painting. I drew first, then inked in all the darkest areas, then went with the watercolors. The finished piece is a little over 10 x 14 inches. Click for a larger view.

The light scattered in all the leaves is beautiful in the photo, but it distracts from the larger shapes and patterns of light and dark that made me want to paint this. So I just went for the large dark masses, using blues, violets, and greens.

What I loved about this image is the lights and darks in the foreground - particularly the interplay of the shadows with the black of the windows and all the shapes around the brightly lit gables and dormers. I also love the red of the barn in the center right. And the height and details of the cupola.

And it helps that the Cunning Runt has composed the whole thing so it works immediately. All I had to do was get the proportions correct in my drawing to preserve the feeling I wanted. My page is a little shorter than his, so I do lose a little of the vertical drama of his photo. I was able to restore a little of that by making the cupola look a little more high and remote (size and atmospheric perspective).

Happily I could also edit the image in my head as I transposed it. So I left out details I didn't like, and I could trim the branches out of parts of the barns that I wanted plain and crisp edged. The Cunning Runt might have liked some of the details I removed... or not. But unless you want to get busy with Photoshop or other tools, those details are not something you change in a photo.

This is the second time I have been inspired by The Cunning Runt's photos. Click here for the previous watercolor sketch (of Mount Greylock), and here for his post and photo. Today's effort is more of a finished painting than the previous.


Linda S. Socha said...

I so enjoy your art work. I can smile seeing any of it and I absolutely touch base with the color choices. You make barns look like dream houses!! Such a magical feel with the things you create

linda said...

I agree with linda^ ... this seems magical, like barns up in the clouds ... I have seen so much lately in your work that wasn't there before and it's wonderful to watch you expand with each and every piece you post ... not that I know but my heart sees that yours is very wrapped up with what you love... it seems as if everything is floating out effortlessly, which I am sure is not exactly the case, but the trickery, if there is any, is simply part of the fun. ;)

Genie Sea said...

First I stepped over to the Cunning Runt's blog (btw that name wreaks havoc on my slightly dyslexic brain - I nearly typed a horrible profanity in the comments)and gazed at the original.

I can see why you were inspired by his photography. The light and shade captivated me, then the colors drove the captivation further.

Your art transcended the composition to the divine. I love that the blue feathery trees have replace the distraction of the green. I love the crispness of the shapes and their colors. I love the light and shade play.

Excellently done! :)

The Cunning Runt said...

Steve, this is beautiful. And once again I'm honored that you saw something in one of my photos which caught your eye.

It's great to witness how you deconstruct images and reassemble them, prioritizing and editing in a way which the camera cannot.

Thanks for sharing your approach - it gives me an expanded perspective on my "seeing" and composition.

And thanks also for letting me know that you did this. I've been a very bad blog reader lately and might otherwise have missed it!

Jul said...

I love how the organic blobbiness of the leaves contrasts with the straight lines and details of the buildings. Very nice.