Monday, April 4, 2016

Composing the Urban Landscape

Occasionally, I like to challenge myself by entering plein air competitions. The painting above titled 'Northview' is a result of a local one-day event that was held in Glendale, AZ. Producing a frame ready painting within a restricted time limit is the actual challenge of these events. In this case a 16x20 inch in about a 3 hour period.

Naturally, the desert has been my main source of inspiration since relocating to the southwest. An urban setting like this was a nice change of pace and reminded me of subject matter that I would frequently paint out on the east coast.

What attracted me to this particular scene is the strong verticals of the lamppost, telephone poles and street sign. Making this an ideal reverse "L" compositional design. Example below:

The elbow of the reverse "L" creates a natural sweet spot to place the focal point. The dark patch of grass to the left of the white structure attracts more attention to the focal area by contrasting values; light against dark. The foreground shadow shapes and property walls create radiating lines pointing directly to the focal point. Example below:

Title: Northview
Painted on: Fredrix Archival Canvas Panel.
Medium: Artist quality oil.
Dimensions: 16x20 inches.
Status: Available.

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