05 June, 2008
Olive Tree Grove
Adam asked how one uses a photo reference and yet spins the artwork freely away from representation. I had to think about that. I won't post the photo, since it isn't mine and I use it by permission. And, besides, I make it a habit to not post photos of my subjects.
The departure point for a painting like this must be mostly in one's imagination. I am picturing specific artworks by artists that I admire, and in this case they are the numerous orchards that van Gogh painted, and a particularly intriguing Italian olive grove that Wolf Kahn painted where the scene is mostly obscured by thin layers of gray paint, as if in a fog.
I want to have my outcome be much more about the artist's works I remember, than about the photograph that I see. These artist's images reside in my soul and look for a way to find expression in my art. But, the photo inspired me by offering a basic composition of a group of trees with one in the foreground. And, for giving me some foliage to portray.
The recent Wolf Kahn Project here at The Colorist has had me doing some reductive type works, where I erase and rub pastels as a technique. And, it had me doing something I don't often do, which is portraying deciduous trees. You know I live in a state so overwhelmingly grown over with conifers that they are engraved on my brain.
An amazing amount of rule breaking and ignoring went along with doing this olive grove image. In fact, my mind was delivering these, "must do" messages at a rapid-fire rate, and I was deflecting them with my shield of abstraction every time!
"Justify that edge!" the voice would demand. "P-tchoo-wee," the shield deflects this comment with a ricochet.
"Balance the image! Heeeyy! Balance!"
"The horizon, man! Where is the horizon line?"
And, the granddaddy of them all: "Either get that focal point to the side or, or, for heaven's sake put something in the middle!!!"
So, of course, I left the middle entirely free of anything. No pigment, no elements - just paper.
That's how one processes a free form, abstracted landscape. I guess.
And also, I am pleased to be the BOSHart Blog Art Blog of the Day.