When I do these small paintings in the studio, I usually am working out ideas regarding design or abstraction or color or some other specific issue. I tried to get them resolved before I forget that I was thinking about them at all (seems it's becoming easier and easier to forget these days!)
I have been rather preoccupied with the idea of saying more with less, and the top picture is a pretty good example. Just how much must you describe to communicate what the thing is? Sometimes, not much. In this case, the only thing that's really defined is the barn roof, and may be the one evergreen tree to the right. Everything else is sort of suggested, and defined only by context and association. Of course, colors and values have to still make sense, but very few shapes are necessary. I just think of them as clues to a puzzle or a mystery. Sorta like, what the heck is this picture? Here's a clue for ya. If you give them too many clues, it's no longer a mystery. It no longer engages the viewer.
That's the idea, anyway.
Tight harmonies, earth tones and a lower key. That was the set of requirements that I gave myself for this little painting. Shaping the tree took a while, as it had to be convincing enough to carry the whole picture. (there are no other clues). I love the "old" look of this palette.
This one, on the other hand, is painted with no earthtones on the palette. The browns and ochres are just mixed from brighter colors. I was interested in doing a more colorful painting than usual, especially in the higher end of the value range. It's richer, but still a little bit subdued.
Expressing the mountainside abstractly. Just barely separating trees from the dirt, but moving the shapes to show topography. I'm exploring this further.
It's summertime! Remembering the lazy days of summer from childhood. Just sitting around watching the clouds float by. Ah, those were the days.
I usually touch all three primaries to mix (almost) every color I use on the canvas, but in this painting, I held back on the blue of the sky. I only used blue and white (ultramarine near top, cerulean beneath) to keep the statement pure and simple. I'm not too comfortable with pure(r)colors, but I'm trying to get used to them in an effort to expand my visual vocabulary.
All of these are available for purchase (except the top one, which is already sold). Email me if you're interested!