Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sky holes 3

I want to show you a couple of great tree painters so that you can look at the restrained and simplified way each of them approached the sky hole problem. The painting above is by John Constable, courtesy of the Look at how "big" he kept the shapes in those trees. The sky holes are kept to a minimum and the large forms are dominant over them.When you see it done, it seems no big deal, but when you are confronted in nature by a tree with dozens of holes in it, some hard decisions have to be made.

The next painting is a Corot, look how few sky holes he used, just a handful, and they are carefully placed to both look random and to reveal the shape of the tree. Notice how airy those trees are, their wispy handling makes them look ephemeral. Their beauty is in their delicacy.

Here is more delicacy., this John Carlson is full of soft passages and artfully arranged shapes. The top third of this painting is an arrangement of unique and interesting shapes. These were designed carefully to be both random looking and to carry a concealed rhythmic geometry. Notice how differently each of these painters has handled the similar problems in their paintings.


Coral Barclay said...

Thanks! very helpful

Honor Bradley said...

Thanks, I am learning a lot.

Philip Koch said...

The Constable painting was an important one for me years ago when I first started trying to figure out how to paint trees. He could give a wonderfully romantic and monumental feeling to trees while remaining faithfully naturalistic. And the Corot painting is very lovely.

We can't just repeat the successes of the old painters but boy can one learn a LOT about painting by studying how they made their best works. Thanks for posting these and the excellent commentary .

barbara b. land of boz said...

Thanks again Stapleton, for an eye opening post. I rather like the way Corot and Carlson handled the trees and sky holes over the method that Constable used. As beautiful as it is, I don't feel invited into his painting. Does the softness of the other two allow one to feel more welcome?
Keep on keeping on!!

barbara b.

Maria Trapani said...

This is just a wonderful instructional series.

Thank You

billspaintingmn said...

Thanks for the the focus on trees.
This post helps to define what we
can do to show 'em we know 'em.
( Didn't everybody drop out of
school in the 60s & 70s, it was the thing to do at that time.)

Unknown said...

Thanks, I just realized I use too many holes.

Mary Bullock said...

Me Too Jeremy! I see now that I use WAY too many holes.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Coral may:
Thanks, lovely name!

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanks again, another lovely name!

Stapleton Kearns said...

Constable was also the hero of my youth.
Still love his stuff.

Stapleton Kearns said...

The Constable is my favorite. I am guessing that because it is the oldest of the pictures it is harder to appreciate for a modern audience.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thank you.

Stapleton Kearns said...

I do too, The pieces I posted though are exceptional in their sparing use of sky holes.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Dropping out was going around in those days. More trees tonight.

Stapleton Kearns said...

You and me both. Avoid the machine gunned look.

Coral Barclay said...

Thanks again!..

..been appraising my "sky holes"