I began using small oil-on-primed-paper studies as a teaching tool in my September 2013 workshop at the Provincetown Artists Association and Museum.
As you can see above and below, I did several versions of the same image, moving elements around, encouraging my students to do the same.
It is not just a question of what is included and what is left out–though that is always a major consideration in my work (see https://scheeleart.wordpress.com/2015/06/30/contoursdistillations-a-solo-show/ for more on that conversation). Even in this very reductive composition, there are many variables. What, exactly, is the shape of the tidal pool cutting toward us, and where does it leave the picture plane, both on the left and on the right? How high or low is the horizon line? Cool greens, warm greens, or both? Back shore more compressed and lighter, making it seem further away, or larger and darker, bringing it forward?
I decided to go very white with the sky in the large piece, since I love the shore phenomenon of bright blue sky overhead and white at the horizon, which is due to the many miles of atmosphere, denser close to earth, that we are looking through.
None of these versions is any better or worse than the other—they are just different. The choices that I made for the larger oil were largely mood-driven. For example, I opted to emphasize the simplicity of the major shapes by omitting the lighthouse and bits of detail on the back shore. Including them would have made it a more descriptive piece, which I do from time to time. But at heart I am a minimalist, enjoying the open feel that these compositions bring.
I soon saw that the studies function nicely as small paintings in their own right if I finish them the same way I do a larger piece. They look great framed with a mat and under glass, though I have also exhibited and sold a number of them mounted on board, sealed to be airtight, and presented without glass, such as the below. I did a grouping, example below, for a small works show without any intention to do them larger—some of them are images I already had done as pastels or larger oils. Switching it up!
I decided to leave out the soft water-shape in the larger version, mostly because I knew that I was going to frame each panel separately and I felt that the simpler field dividers would work best, carrying the horizontal sweep of the composition through the strong verticals of the frames and the wall space between.
These two are quite similar, the main difference being the enhanced distance in the road that I created with the larger piece.
Study/Sunset Sea, 5″x5″ (at Thompson Giroux Gallery).
Yellow Band, 36″x36″ (at Julie Heller Gallery).
In the larger size I needed to add more buildings, and I opted to make it more atmospheric. It turned out to be very useful to have established the front detail in the small piece, since I wasn’t at all sure how it was going to work out or even if I wanted to include it. I liked it well enough in the study to follow my own lead in the larger oil.
I was so enjoying the color on the above that I decided to do a version without the industrial detail in the back landform.
And then I wanted to simplify even more and use the soft lavender with greens instead.
Additional pieces (updated since the publication of this post):
The study below illustrates another use for the small format, as it was a a study for a commissioned painting (something that I have always done in a small pastel or oil to iron out the imagery that has been chosen by the collector):
You may have noticed that some of the oil-on-paper pieces have a deckled edge and some have a clean edge. This does not translate with the large oil-on-linen work, but instead is something that I’ve been playing with in my pastels for a number of years. Some images have shapes within that relate to the uneven edge, and others have a more linear sweep to the composition. Those that have the deckled edge are framed showing it, and the others have the mat coming right up to the edge of the image.
October 22, 2015 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: Albert Shahinian Fine Art, art collecting, atmospheric landscapes, Cape Cod paintings, Choose from the most used tags Albert Shahinian Fine Art art art collecting Asher Nieman Gallery atmospheric landscapes Barneche Designs Cape Cod paintings Catskills Chichester christie scheele color , color studies, compositional studies, Edgewater Gallery VT, Gold Gallery Boston, large landscapes, large oil paintings, marsh paintings, Martha's Vineyard paintings, minimalist landscape, moody landscape, Mountain paintings, Oi on paper, oil painting, Provincetown Artists Association, Provincetown paintings, salt marsh paintings, seascapes, small landscapes, sunsets, teaching, teaching landscape painting, Thompson Giroux Gallery, urban landscapes, weather, Woodstock Scool of art Julie Heller Gallery, workshops | 2 Comments