Friday, August 20, 2010

orchestrating the focal point

The "rule of thirds" is a great tool to use for planning your focal point. Divide your paper/canvas into 3 equal spaces. The 4  points where the lines cross are the sweet spots. Choose one and plan the focal point there. (Square formats are slightly different, because of the nature of their even-ness.) I chose the upper right sweet spot.

Here is the underpainting. The focus was neutral- greyed.

After you have planned where the focal point is you have to remember to put the juicy stuff there. I always start by making my lightest and darkest mark. (for this one I tried to keep it 2 values lighter than it was.) I move around a lot while painting, but in the beginning I spend more time in the focal point. Everything needs to relate to the focal point and make movement to lead to it.

 I must admit I am not happy with this painting. I wanted that summer haze- lazy feeling, but I think I became wrapped up in "it." Funny while I was painting I knew it was happening, but I didn't stop myself!
No sense perseverating. I painted this yesterday... so thankfully today I have another chance, both outdoors and in the studio.

PS I just redid this one (top), wiped it down with OMS and just went for it. better? no...go on to something else ;-)


Double "D" said...

Morning B!!!!!!!!!

Incredible under painting! I think I've used all the other expletives. Really like how you manage the pastel, it seems such a light touch with it just catching the surface of the paper. Your under paintings seem to have become more deliberate, or is it because you're using oil? Nice medium for lifting color out of an area like the high light in the water. My, my, such a talented person you are. From a critique, I would have left the sky reflection a bit lighter. I like it in the finished piece but having the underpainting to compare it to, I'm more drawn to it in the underpainting. I see how this might be a distraction from the focal point. Still, 2 or 3% lighter would be my preference. I like how the large mass of tree's on the left and how it directs the eye to the focal point, but, but ,but ... a light gradation from light to dark from near to far would have added a little more interest. Not much, just a little. Again, I looked at the underpainting with your darkest dark next to the light. Really works there. One last thing, then I'll be quiet. I have a hard time seeing anything but the focal point ... maybe if it were toned down just a touch.
Alright then, time to get back to that cup of coffee.
We'll talk later,

loriann said...

Hey PB, thanks for the honest crit. You are so right I became so tied up in the focal point and had to force my self to work and try to form two other point of interest to make the eye travel. I wasn't successful. After I posted it I went out and "redeemed myself" in a field by the lake. I still will keep this one up...true to my word it IS all about process..sometimes they work.. I think I will take this one to the studio with some OMS and see what happens. cheers!

Double "D" said...

Hi B!!!!!!!
I like how you pulled some of the focal point color forward below the trees and then connected it with little touches of color passing between the tree trunks.
Plus I see some temperature changes in the left hand tree mass, and some slight value changes. Atsa nice.
It was a beauty to begin with but now it's a real stunner. I've been trying to figure out what OMS means. Whatever it means, it worked.
Hope you've had a good day painting.
Cheers back atsha!

loriann said...

Hi PB...thanks for your comment . Honestly it really isn't a beauty. But I worked out some issues. OMS odorless mineral spirits (like turpentine, but w/o the smell. The kids must be coming in town today..enjoy the vacation!-b

Donna T said...

I'm glad you gave yourself permission to play with this one, Loriann. I like the revised version much better. It seems to have more life and the light flows better.

loriann said...

hi Donna and thank you!'s an improvement. The hand sometimes doesn't listen to me.

Double "D" said...

Yes the thundering herd will be here in 10 minutes.
I'm going to run and hide. At least the noise level will pick up.

Caroline said...

Oh wow your under painting is just gorgeous, very loose in the watercolour style of painting. It looks like a single sweep of colour across the paper has created such a fresh looking painting. The rule of thirds really does make a big difference to a painting and is worth doing.

loriann said...

Hey PB, enjoy your thundering herd!

Hi Caroline, The watercolor worked better than the pastel...oh well. Tomorrow's another day. Thank you!

Pam Holnback said...

Love how you show the photo reference. Really gets me looking and thinking. How much does one push change colors, How much does one change the values, etc. Food for thought for me.