Oh Dear, Composition, Planning and All That.

Mary Kemp - Houses Through the Trees.
Oil on board 70 x 50 cms. 
In case you haven't guessed I struggle with composition. I usually know what I want to depict, how I want the painting to feel, and then I settle down to planning it. Except I don't plan as well as I should do and dive in before I've resolved essential elements, like where the darks and lights go, where are the points of interest and the thrust of lines.
I have on occassions mapped out a painting meticulously but then it looses something. My best paintings are those where I conceive the idea quickly, do a brief sketch and then get on with it, and all goes well.
I won't ask you to guess how well I thought this one went.
I started with a drawing on a red gessoed board, put in all the darks, and some more, using ivory black mixed with spirit and Liquin, let it dry, and then started adding the clouds with transparent earth red, pink brown and a little bit of black. Later I added the light with white, cad yellow and used Neo Meglip a smoothing agent. Back to the dark bits, and mixed in some green in the foreground. I'm still not 100 per cent happy with it and I think there's more work to be done. However like many things it looks more finished when it's photographed.


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