Wednesday, May 04, 2011

White House On 9th & Derry


This is an abandoned farm house close to my home. I often pass by it and wonder what wonderful happy days it must have held in it.

There is so much to paint in this picture and one of the mistakes I often do is to paint it all when I am outdoors painting en plein air.

 2 After looking at all the possible compositions in the picture I finally settled on a small portion of the house. You have to guess that this extension was added at a time when the family was growing and they needed more room for everyone. But what happened? Why is this beautiful house sitting empty and falling apart?
3 Here is the composition close up and framed. Some of the elements in the picture will be simplified and some will be removed all together, but the basics are here.
4 I did a very subtle but important change from the image above. Can you guess what it is? Yes I narrowed the white area (siding). It occupied a lot of the image and had to be limited.
5 Still in photoshop, I turned the image to black and white to start seeing the abstract shapes. Right here and in the image below you can see how strong that dark triangle is. It has to go. If this was an abstract painting, I would have probably kept it and played with the hard edges, but for the purpose of this painting it is too distracting .
6 Here you can see it even clearer. It just sucks all the attention. If I was doing this painting en plein air, I would probably have realized this later in the process and had to correct for it. One of the nice things about painting in the studio is that you can contemplate all of these things over a cup of coffee on your laptop before you even touch a brush!
7 Satisfied that I had the basics done, I took a 14x11 panel and started laying out the shapes to see how it looks. I also decided on the colour scheme for the painting. I want it to be earie and cold on the outside with a bit of warmth on the inside while avoiding the Kinkaid plague (no glowing lights!!).
8 More layers and now I am starting to negative paint the trees. I am also starting to drift on the angle of the extension. It will be a while before I figure that one out and fix it.
9 I didn’t like the way the trees where looking so I went back and filled the whole area up again. I also started working on one of the near trees.

(The roof of the extension is still drifting!!)
10 I added a couple of more trees in the foreground and built up the negative shapes in the back (sky) to bring out the background trees and branches.

(The roof of the extension is still drifting!!)
11 This is the moment when you want to just throw the thing in the garbage and give up on painting. Everything is in. Now is the time to start asking why? Why are these elements in there? Do they have to be?

(The roof of the extension is still drifting!!)
12 Ok so I finally saw what the roof was doing and gave it a lift before it just  collapsed on the extension. Still. That little tree looks like hell! Do I really need it? Why did I put it there?
13 I took the little tree out and I feel it opened the painting up.
14 I finally cleaned up the branches and sharpened the edges where I could.

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