Saturday, November 28, 2009

A little off the top please

Dissecting the genitalia of the male Cactus Moth by Richard L. Brown of the Mississippi entomological museum

Its dissection time again here too. So spritz a little alcohol on those moth abdomens, grab your
Dumont Forceps and lets open a few of them up!

I got this image to critique and I scratched my head for a while. Its got nice color and the values are pleasing, but it lacks something. The artist was smart not making it too symmetrical, but it still just misses. It is I think one of those situations where it seemed really cool when you were standing in front of it. A great concept and the waterfall was exciting. But it just didn't work as well in paint as in reality. I have made plenty of those myself.

I think It would probably have been advisable to back up a bit and get something else into the painting. I was reminded of these two paintings by deceased Gloucester artist Frederick Mulhaupt, both feature arched bridges like yours. I don't know that they are so similar but he was working with the same problems. There is also a Theodore Wendell of the Ipswich bridge that I went looking for and couldn't find online.

I think both of these, but particularly the upper, play a structure of verticals against the arched shape. They show two different kinds of shapes juxtaposed against one another, the arch and the vertical tree shapes.

Contrasting one sort of shape with another group of shapes that are very different is often a very effective way to build a composition. This is a concept that rock nd roll uses all the time. Think about how rock musicians often set up a tune, They will have a very sweet A section and than contrast it with a very brutal, minor or crashing B section, they alternate back and forth, each contrasting with and relieving the other. The British invasion bands were extremely fond of this, the Beatles used it all the time.
There are only three spaces left in the snow painting workshop. If you want to sign up, you can do that here.

2 comments: said...

Wow, It might be possible to make this cropped view and very simple composition work but it's challenging . My hat's off to the painter who gave this a go.

I guess my question would be: what did you find so compelling here that you had to paint it? It's this answer that could make it work. If it was the light and water looking through the bridge; perhaps that is where the effort of details, found complimentary colors and brush strokes could be.

If it was the shape and light of the stone bridge; likewise, show me raking warm light and beautiful lit stones and cool shadows with peeks of the stones in shadow. I agree, without knowing what the painter wanted to show us, the painting could use more to hold the viewer there.

But Bravo for such an nontraditional composition at such a iconic subject as a an old stone bridge.Hope you give it another go, one way or the other.

Dot Courson said...

That video was to teach all the male Cactus moths that we REALLY MEAN BUSINESS here in Mississippi...