I returned to Ruskin’s “The Elements of Drawing” this summer. (It’s always good to start anew and never assume that you know whatever you think you know – because most likely, you don’t) So as I was playing around with watercolours, Ruskin suggested creating shapes and filling them in, beginning with the most basic of shapes, the circle. I was creating these sun-like shapes on a landscape oriented pad, 6″ x 12″ and immediately wanted to superimpose a real landscape over it. So I did.
The first in the series, was of a scene along the Schipdonk canal somewhere around Eeklo. Since I thought it turned out rather well, I thought, hmmmm…., this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship? I liked the serendipitous contribution of the sun-like circle, compositionally and chromatically, enhancing its one-point perspective. I also liked the idea of doing the landscape in a simplified colour scheme of two complimentary colors. I began to imagine doing more, particularly of my favourite scenes around here.
The second in the series then is of a farm along the Damse Vaart that I have painted in the past. I really like the sweet, afternoon light on the farm buildings in the middle ground but have struggled to make it an interesting composition. Would this circle approach help? I decided to try it with a green/red palette, The result was OK, but compositionally, still rather static, so I enhanced the golden circle with an external wash of purple. It felt pretty rad. 🙂
Well, OK, what’s next? I have plenty of favourite spots around here, so I chose another one further along the Damse Vaart, this time at its bend (which I have also painted in the past). I ended up doing three different versions of it: the first in a ‘normal’ colour scheme’ (boring!); the second in Thalo Blue/Burnt Sienna but with a horizon line that was about a 1/2″ too high (ugh!, toss); and the last one (pictured here) with the Blue/Sienna colour scheme but a lowered horizon line ( it finally felt right chromatically and compositionally).
Luckily these small experiments are easy to do so there’s more to come. Stay tuned…