November 22, 2014

Unlikely inspiration

Sometimes inspiration for a painting comes from unlikely places, such as this farm in Xinjiang, China which was used as a barbecue and party area. The bright red boxes of what is called 'white wine' in China (actually a strong spirit that is used on social occasions) are a nice contrast against the soft muted greens of the woodland. The interesting thing is that if you look at the photo below, you cannot really see the color harmonies and beauty that is in the painting. I could not have painted this from a photograph and got the same result. Yet when I was actually at the scene, you could see the color harmony and abstract possibilities quite clearly. Maybe it was because the light had changed by the time I took the photograph, or maybe it was because the camera did not capture accurately the colors I was actually seeing? I'm not sure. Anyway I was quite happy with the result. I had great fun too with the brushwork. I included a couple of closeups so you can see the brushwork more clearly.

For those of your interested in painting composition, the painting uses a double split complementary color harmony, with a dominant gray notan structure, a contrast of temperature where the cool colors are dominant, contrast of saturation, an abstract design based on point, line, mass and an organizational structure based on radiant lines.

Not that I had time to think about those things while I was actually doing the painting, because I was too preoccupied with swatting the mosquitoes that were starting to bite me. One day in that painting location was enough! The next day I headed higher into the mountains and painted studies for the three friends.

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