Thursday, March 6, 2008

Playing with red - tulip fields

Spring in Skagit Valley, Washington
7 x 10 soft pastels on Art Spectrum Colourfix
Miki Willa
I decided to try red again. For some reason, my reds stay in my box, largely unused. I think I may be intimidated by them. My friend sent me a wonderful photo of this red tulip field in the Skagit Valley last spring. I have avoided it for a long time. This morning, with paper in hand, I decided to give it a try. I boldly picked up my darkest red to lay in the foreground. That went well, so I moved on. Once the reds were down, I quickly got into my color comfort zone and did the background and the sky. Once that was under control, I started looking at the red field again. I didn't want to draw each individual tulip because that violates my sense of what I want to show. I used my brightest red to indicate flowers in close foreground. Then I added some stray golden tulips to create interest. I am pretty happy with most of the painting.
As I looked at this during the day, I saw a few compositional things that need fixing. First, the golden tulips need to move over to the other side. Having them and the barn structures on the same side makes that side too heavy, I think. Second, I really need to reshape the furthest mountain. It is much too high, and too dark. Finally, I realize I violated the rule of no two intersections alike, but I am not sure how to fix that.
I love it when I learn many things from a painting. Hokusai started drawing as a child. He apprenticed to an artist at 18. He was one of Japan's best known artists. When he was in his 70's, he declared that he still wasn't good enough. If he lived to 100, he might have figured it out, he thought. I have not been painting nearly that long, so I have to learn much from everything I do. This artistic journey, however, is great and I wouldn't trade it.


Mary Ann said...

Yes! That is the Skagit Valley I know and love - well done, Miki!

Tom said...

Love those mountains. I don't see the intersection problem. Geographical shape painting remind of painting rocks sometimes there are very similar qualities with small differences in the details. I love the foreground, I might handle the golden tulips by making more in right and center and keeping the ones in the left,too.
You should be proud of yourself for attempting a very difficult aerial perspective and achieving success.

Casey Klahn said...

My opinion of this lovely painting (of my home area).

I much prefer to have an interesting detail like the golden tulips draw my eye toward the center of interest. I wouldn't move them at all. But, you may choose to add something as balance elsewhere.

Photographs tend to flatten mountains vertically. As a guy who used to climb in these mountains, the Cascades, I would say the height is exactly right. The photo was wrong! Your painting is right!

Very nice painting, and one of my favorites on your blog, Miki. Bravo!