Saturday, October 4, 2008

Painting Grand Vistas

12 x 18 soft pastel on Kitty Wallis Professional White
by Miki Willa

I was reading Rose's Artlines yesterday, and she posed a question about what kinds of art a person likes and why. I have been pondering that question for a while in an effort to narrow my focus for my paintings. I think I will start with subjects.

One of the subjects I really like is the grand vista. I like the idea of the majestic landscape, but not in an over romanticized way. I also really like pastoral scenes, with or without buildings. Old barns, rivers, wetlands, rock formations, and mountains always draw me in. I also really like still lifes, if they are filled with odd and interesting things.

I guess the reason I am starting with subjects is because I am thinking of working on a series. Katherine at Making a Mark has been writing about series paintings. Some time back, MC Johnson wrote about painting in a series. Yesterday, I read Elizabeth Mowry's Landscape Meditations: an artist's guide to exploring themes in landscape painting. All of this has made me think about what I would like to get from painting a series.

1. I would explore a subject in depth and make it a part of me.

2. I would hone my skills in certain areas that need work.

3. I could explore various techniques while staying true to style and subject.

Now I just have to decide what I want to use as my primary subject.

Today's painting is from just outside West Glacier in Montana. We stayed one night at a very overpriced, not really pleasant motel before we started our camping trip in Glacier National Park. The only thing this place had going for it was the view. I used an orange underpainting for the trees in different values of orange. I was really pleased with the way the underpainting turned out, so I very carefully followed the values when I added the greens and violets. I also worked hard getting the values the way I wanted for the receding mountains. Once again, I was going for good aerial perspective.

1 comment:

Willa said...

Looks lovely. Perhaps landscapes are your calling - you seem to do them well.