Garden compositionPosted: June 6, 2014
It’s a dull day outdoors in the garden but if you look at it with pattern and value in mind I think it’s possible to create something despite the lack of lights and darks. When I’m creating a value plan like this one (this happens to be in colour but it could also be in black and white) I’m thinking about several things: what are the big shapes, where is the light and dark, what is the centre of interest and can I introduce a dominant colour, direction or line? If I do this part right, then when I make this into a bigger painting I will have a direction to move towards.
So what was I thinking when I did this (besides how buggy it is on a cloudy day in June)? First of all, where is the pattern of lights? In this case I wanted it to be a curved shape that flowed horizontally through the picture. The white shape at the left is Queen Anne’s lace but instead of drawing every flower I massed it into a big light shape. As a contrast to the curve, I used the diagonals of the birch tree. Like most garden scenes, the dominant colour is green but this is where colour temperature comes in. The foliage at the left is warmer (more yellow) and as it moves towards the right it gets cooler and duller until it mixes with the purple. To create unity, I repeated that bit of purple in several places in the sketch so that it wouldn’t be isolated in one spot. I also repeated the foliage shapes but changed size as I went along. Big on the bottom, smaller on the left and very small at the top.
For the most part I think this could make a successful composition for a painting. What will I change in the final? I’m not that happy with the shapes of the purple flowers at the lower left quadrant. Those shapes need to be clarified or defined more. I’m also not totally pleased with the large dark shape of the leaf overhang in the upper right. I will have to make that a better shape too. Let’s see what happens when I turn this into a painting sometime soon…