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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

An Easy Tip for Painting Better Trees

'Serenity Bend'         11x14       pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available on Etsy $175
As soon as I saw it I knew what was wrong. My brain had done it again! It had taken over and happily organized all my tree trunks into neat, straight and even lines. It didn't stop there! My brain also decided that the spaces in between the tree trunks also needed to be neat and even.   What a fine job it did!  But this is one place that I don't want this side of the brain to take charge!

As Jove Wang reminded us during his demo at the Plein Air Convention "Even is Boring"

We certainly don't want BORING!  We need to jump in and take charge and mix things up a little!

Before the changes

Nice and even spacing between the trees
The photos above show the 'before' version of the painting. Notice the tree trunks. They are all lined up with straight trunks. The INTERVALS or spacing between the trees are also just about the same. Even = Boring! 

I returned to the painting with a mission....to break up the even spaces and make the negative spaces more interesting. I did this by changing the placement of some of the tree trunks. I also used the sky color to create more interesting shapes. Finally I changed some of the trees and bushed to break up the area and make a more interesting tangle of foliage.

Below is the result of my makeover. It captures better the feeling of the wildness of this place. It wasn't a cultivated garden so I didn't need it to be neat and organized.

TIP: Pay attention to what your brain is doing! It wants to put things in order yet we appreciate things that are interesting and unexpected. Take charge and remember that EVEN =  BORING!

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