It is difficult for me to say how I choose a scene to paint. I, like everyone else, can see the beautiful morning light on an old barn or backlit flowers glowing and imagine what kind of image that would make. But for some reason, I tend to avoid the obvious stuff – barn, hay bale, people. I’m more drawn to the weight or lightness – airiness – of nature. In the scene above, “Leiper’s Creek, Overcast”, I was painting with a group of other painters who chose to paint barns in a landscape. They were pleasant enough, and I did make a painting of one, but they did not compel me. I knew I could get the lines right. I knew I could approximate the old, weathered sides by dragging a flat brush down the panel (careful to modulate the temperature!).
But what I could not walk past was this scene. The dark distance, the dark water against the bleached and fallen branches perfectly leading me back. The purplish tones of the tiny line of falling water gave another cue, but these things appeal to the outer man, and can easily be leaned on. These things can become “rules.”
There was a weight, a presence, to the scene as a whole that I cannot articulate, an appeal to the inner man. What is the subject? What is the focal point? Those who painted barns had answers to these questions, but I had none.
As indicated above, I could talk about movement, composition, and contrast, but I stopped here because this view said, “quiet.”
That’s all I know.