Sunday, June 1, 2008

Spring Splendor - WIP (work in progress)

Today on Wet Canvas a fellow pastel artist asked me about painting plein air. Here is her question; "When you're outside on a bright day and paint things that are very dark, like your backlit tree trunks, are they really that dark or do our eyes get kind of burned out by the light and darks appear too dark? I know the camera makes darks too dark but do our eyes tend to do the same thing on bright days?" This is such a great question and here is what I think about when I am painting.

When you are outside looking at nature the value range of your medium is very small, while the value range of nature is huge. When I am trying to create something that I see and feel, like very, very bright back lit trees, I go darker and brighter if at all possible. I push both extremes. You look at what nature has to offer and then look at your painting to see what it needs. I am not trying to copy nature! Nature is my reference and offers up ideas for creating a painting!
Edgar Payne says,
"Nature is not the least concerned with artisitic attributes, although she has prior claim on the artist and instists that her qualites receive first attention. If she is to be represented, she demands that she be not occasionally but ofen consulted. Otherwise there is liable to be trouble."
He also says,
"The human mind has an enormous capacity for storing knowledge and conceiving ideas, yet is infinitesimally small compared to nature when it comes to making suggestions for pictorial expression. Therefore the artist must conclude that while he needs to assert his artistic powers he must also recognize and respect nature's capacity and variety, which is so much greater than his own.

Though the painter may have the gretest possible talent, excellent training and most noble ideas or concepts, he is still dependent, to a very great extent, uon nature. To her he must go for ideas to be translated. A pictorial representation is always a translation. Nature suggests ideas for interpretation, the artist supplies ideas of how the interpretation is to be made."


Celeste Bergin said...

That is a dazzling painting Donna!. Thanks for reminding me about Edgar Payne's book. Your painting uses saturated color...but it doesn't look in the least contrived. I will be tuned in to see where you take it next

Donna Van Tuyl said...

Thank you Celeste. I do like reading Edgar Payne's words. He has a way of saying things that connect with me and my own view of life and painting.

Anonymous said...

donna, I love your work, and the way you paint the things I love. I try to learn, and hope to accomplish a little of what you have in the sense of connection with your viewers. I also enjoy and learn from Edgar Paynes' writtings and views--and I love his work. I live near a lot of those types of Mountains he painted when he was in the Sierra's. Hope to be able to do some of my own. Thanks for your work, and your blogs!