Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Design is everything...

It is very important to plan your painting. Look for the pattern, the underlying design. Create unity by interlocking the shapes and linking colours. Cezanne said

Art is the harmony of many relationships...

and he certainly knew something about art. Some artists regard value as the most important element while others prefer to emphasize colour. But design is everything. It is the structure of the painting. Without a strong design you are setting yourself up to fail. Among the major principles of design, unity is probably the most important. Always consider the whole design and how the elements work together. Spend time planning to create a strong design.

waterlilies       Sold

By using a repetition of interlocking shapes and a limited colour scheme, there is a strong element of unity in this painting. Just a touch of red is enough to provide a warm colour contrast.

Monday, 9 June 2014


My first thought when composing a painting is to simplify everything. I try to decide how to say more, by saying less. This is probably why a simple sketch can often have so much appeal. It is important to look for the essence of the subject and then try to state it simply. Monet once said,

" I would like to paint the way a bird sings..."

One of the proven methods of simplifying work is to focus on the essentials of the composition. Why did I choose this subject? Is it a particular aspect of the light that appeals? Does a certain colour relationship have impact? Is it the repetion of shapes that attracts the eye?

The challenge of the realist artist is to try and capture not just the representaion of the subject, but to try and convey the essence of the scene, the mood and the drama.

Morning on the Murray River (finalist in landscape competition)  Sold
This painting is all about the light. The sun was illuminating the distant trees and the water, and a strong foreground shadow was broken by the light of the two small pools.

Using a low horizon to emphasize the expansive nature of the composition, I divided the format into a series of horizontal shapes and then broke these with diagonals, which provided a visual movement into the painting. The contrast of warm and cool gave variety, and a strong foreground tone emphasized the light.