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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Getting Rid of Eye Sores Before Beginning a Painting

Here's a photo I found on Pixabay. 
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 If I happened upon this scene while out looking for a subject to paint, I'd probably set up my easel and get to work.  But to begin working without looking for potential eye sores would be a recipe for an inferior piece before even getting started.  
For one thing, that line where the grassy hill ends and the field begins forms a tangent with the roof of the house. I'd want to move that edge down.
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 That clump of dirt to the left of the tree feels out of place.  I think I would delete that.
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The little light green bush in front is too isolated and adds clutter to an already busy scene.  It's got to go. 
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There's too much space on the left between the tree and the left edge AND that space is too much the same width of the tree.  I'll crop that. 
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 For such a busy scene, the value contrast is too strong.  To calm that down, I'll darken the sky a bit.  This will help make the light on the house the focal point.
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That really dark edge between the grassy hill and the field is too harsh, splitting that area and causing it to attract too much attention.  It needs to be subdued. 
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That takes care of most of the stuff that is visually incoherent.  From this point, I could choose to begin with this design or I could crop to a different format.
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In the crop on the left (as well as in the uncropped piece). I'm still bothered by the space of that hill being about the same width as the sky space. In the crop on the right, the widths of the tree and house are a bit too similar, but I can adjust that while composing the painting.   (Remember, we set the design, but the real composing begins with oubrushwork.)
What's important when we are selecting a subject for painting is that we look at one thing at a time and that we are willing to edit and rearrange for the best design so that when we begin composing, we have a head start.  

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