OK, I am really writing more about getting breadth in your paintings.
Here is a painting that was painted broadly by our hero Edward Seago. I will point out some of the moves he has made here. Bullets please.
- This was done on a pretextured canvas, allowing dragged strokes which tends to give soft edges. Here are some notes from the archives on his materials and textured panels
- Because of his limited, but mostly earth color palette the painting tends to unify more easily. This gives an advantage in color harmony.
- The foreground and fields edge on the left was painted with a knife. That automatically installs some breadth. It is harder to niggel with a knife.
- The extremities of that big tree are just dragged brushstrokes, the drawing of the trunk and branches carries the lack of detail there.
- The whole foreground is basically one value with changes in color and temperature giving variety to the different elements.
- The simplified shapes of the houses are so minimal that we fill in all the detail. A lot of the houses are drawn by their contrast with the background and a shadow or two.
- The sky is kept close in value also. Again this is a type of simplification that allows broad handling. Breadth arises from simplification.
- The edges of the masses are characterized and the viewer is left to fill in the middle details. You can accomplish a lot by studying the meetings of the masses. See the dark treeline above the houses? There's an example of that.
- All of the above are to arrive at simplification. Simplification could almost be a synonym for breadth.
- Lots of little dots and blobs allow the viewer to invent the detail.
- As Richard Schmid famously noted, "loose is how a painting looks, not how it was done".
Imagine that you are working with pixels the size of walnuts. How many walnuts would take to cover the surface of your canvas? If you made marks that size alone you would have breadth, even if you had to throw in a few lines and jots to tell your story.
BREADTH HAS TO BE INSTALLED RATHER THAN OBSERVED INTO A PAINTING. IT IS A WAY OF THINKING, NOT A WAY OF SEEING.