Work In Progress: Suwanee River, Update 7
The painting is complete!
The important concept to remember with this painting is that I want to represent the scene in its basic, unembellished form – to represent the essence of the scene without detail. The less detail in the painting, the more the viewer is able to emotionally connect with it.
The right side of the painting involves a grouping of bald cypress trees. Beyond this grouping is more of the background – the far bank and the trees above the water. The bald cypress trees with their foliage, in the foreground, is part of the scene but they are unimportant to the main focus – the confluence of the tree line with the river on the left side. I struggled with painting those trees – getting them in yet keeping them secondary to the center of interest. Each time I painted them I was dissatisfied with how they looked. I put some detail in to satisfy my innate drive for detail, but then realized they must remain without focus or they would compete with the center of interest. After a few cycles of detail and no – detail, I decided that the only real contribution the right side of the painting made was enlarging the painting.
So, I eliminated it. I simplified the painting even further. I decided to cut off the painting just to the right side of the second tree. I think that improved the composition – and eliminated the question of how to depict the bald cypress trees.
One change I made to help focus attention in the center of interest was the addition of some birds taking flight just above the river.
Just to see if I could further simplify the painting (without eliminating more detail) and still keep focus on the center of interest, I reduced the size of the painting further. I think the painting still works.
However, I think I’ll keep to the former size shown earlier.
This exercise has been very instructive to me and I’ve learned a lot. I am very early in my re-evaluation and evolution in my painting style. I’m not sure where I will wind up. I still love detail but I am now convinced that it has to be judiciously applied. It will be interesting and exciting to see where this search will lead.