Thursday, November 7, 2019

Country Field - Aesthetic vs. Reality

Country Field, 8 x 6, Oil on canvas, L. Daniel © 2019

"Country Field" is a small demo I painted for a plein air workshop this past spring. After I finished and even signed it, I was bothered by some things. While I had managed to replicate the scene, it wasn't aesthetically pleasing to me. An additional lesson came to mind what is more important: aesthetic or reality? I say aesthetic.  

Sometimes it is necessary to adjust reality a bit to accurately portray what we SEE and FEEL about our subject. Permission granted to make changes for the betterment of your painting! 

In this case, I had stuck a little too close to the real thing and lost the feeling of the place... so... I did some adjusting! Below you can see the before and after photos of this piece, and a photo of the scene. 

Changes I made and why:
1) I gave the main tree shape a more interesting shape by cutting back in with sky and distant tree line. Before, the main tree was too perfectly round and static.
2) I cooled down distant row of trees. Before, the distant trees were not receding enough, or separating enough from the front tree.
3) I added more fencing on the right. Before, there was too much weight on the left side. The added fence counterbalances that weight and creates a more specific "path" into the scene.
4) I lightened up the highlights on the trees. Before, the highlights did not fully convey the light that came and went that day.
5) I added Bluebonnets. Before, there was no reference to season. It was Texas Spring! Bluebonnets were everywhere else and I had plenty of reference. HAD to!

Above: Before 
Below: After

And here is a photo of the scene... 


Carol Watson said...

Thanks for the explanation. It helps us to grow as artists. Love your work. It did improve the scene.

Laurel Daniel said...

Thank you so much, Carol!!! I am so glad you found it helpful!!!

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

What a difference. I had no 'problem' with the original painting, but, your changes and the reasons you state for them, MAKE this painting!