I received this comment on the last post:
This is interesting and a bit confusing to me...if you 'key' your painting, don't you risk losing that lovely, oh so lovely atmospheric sense, the 'lightness' of nature that is almost like 'dew' to behold? I understand it all depends on what the light effect is of the particular scene you are viewing, but still, the phrase 'key your painting' troubles me and makes me think that it is similar to making NATURE conform to something she is not....of course, I am talking from a stand point of almost zero experience....and how does this translate to indoor/ still life painting? Personally, I love the Boston Painters, whose work, while it definitely utilizes dark darks and flat shadows, always feels 'light' and that the light effect 'was just that'.
Exactly! I want to make nature conform to something it is not. I wish to make art. Nature is one thing. Art is another. Arts a lie! The root of the word is artifice. Here's the definition of that. "Clever or cunning devices or expedients, esp. as used to trick or deceive others: "artifice and outright fakery. You cannot "observe design, color or emotion into a landscape painting. All of these things are installed by the artist. Look at the wonderful Seago above, would you mistake it for a window? Is it truthful?
It is possible to set up a still life in the studio and carefully transfer its appearance onto a canvas, at least if you have controlled lighting. But landscape is a different game. For a number of reasons.
- Outside, nature is always changing. Every time you look up it is slightly different. There is no "thing" to copy exactly. You cannot set up outside and copy your way to a great landscape painting.
© The Estate of Edward Seago, courtesy of Portland Gallery www.portlandgallery.com
- The landscape is a warehouse of more props and details than you could ever want. It is essential to select the important, and reject the unnecessary clutter. It is impossible to paint every leaf in a forest and still get every blade of grass at your feet and maintain any semblance of unity or grace.