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Old 02-16-2020, 11:15 AM
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Irish Summer

Yet another Northern Ireland scene on a nice Summer day right around the bend from Winterfell...lol

A small study 12 x 16 oil on linen. I know I broke every rule in composition with what appears to be a focal point in the center (I wanted to focus on that isolated right tree). I just could not find a good way to get the house, stone look out, tree, and boat in the scene so I painted it as it was and didn't move anything around. Not my best but it is what it is... chalk this one up as a learning experience.... The camera picked up a lot of texture in the linen this time so probably didn't have the right lighting conditions. It isn't that noticeable in person...
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Old 02-16-2020, 12:35 PM
oldnmartist oldnmartist is online now
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Re: Irish Summer

I think I see what you mean, a number of well painted objects, but do they all fit together? I would think the house is the focal point. The rock tower is not something most of us are familiar with. I like the head on view of the boat, by the way, use that in other paintings.
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Old 02-16-2020, 01:46 PM
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Re: Irish Summer

The main concern with centering an object is that the eye will go to it and stay there. In this case I tend to agree with oldmartist that the tower is not a familiar object to most of us so we start there, but move on. My eye goes first to the center then moves to the house, then to the waterway below in a similar color to the house, then to the boat, then up the mast to the hill which sweeps us back down to towards the rock tower, but then the tree is there to carry us up across the sky, which leads us back over to the house and down the sloping trees towards the rock tower where we reverse the movement. You've balanced the weight of the scene, with the tree and the hill behind it and then the white boat offsetting the weight of the house. It works well enough.
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Old 02-16-2020, 04:43 PM
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Re: Irish Summer

Thanks oldnmartist! I will use that boat again sometime....

Thanks for explaining the way you travel through the painting David. That really will help me in the future.
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Old 02-16-2020, 06:36 PM
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Re: Irish Summer

I formerly subscribed to Palette Magazine edited by Skip Lawrence and Christopher Schink. They claimed that white objects will usually become focal points whether we mean it to happen or not. I think the boat (well painted btw) attracts a lot of attention to edge of the canvas. You referred to this as a study. If you have the digital means, you might move the boat to a better focal point position (perhaps also enlarge a little) and see how the picture works.

This is all well painted to my taste. Gary
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Old 02-16-2020, 10:16 PM
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Re: Irish Summer

Thanks Gary! That is a great point about the boat and the lightest value directing the eye. I will always keep that in mind..
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Old 02-16-2020, 10:23 PM
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Re: Irish Summer

Hi Wes,

Great painting and as already has been noted well painted. I really like the palette as well.
For me my eyes seem to go to the white boat in the foreground although I know you mentionned you were looking to have that tree on the right the main focal point.

I think all in all it is a super painting.
John
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Old 02-16-2020, 11:55 PM
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Re: Irish Summer

Thanks so much John!
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Old 02-17-2020, 05:08 AM
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Re: Irish Summer

Your palette is indeed lovely and so recognisable as yours, Wes! I struggle with this often: if one is painting a particularly recongisable scene, then it is hard to leave something out, because then it is not the scene people know and love. How could you have painted this and left out some of those landmarks? I think you have painted it beautifully: the boat is very well-painted, maybe a tad small?
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Old 02-17-2020, 05:36 AM
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Re: Irish Summer

Wes - Overall the composition displays an interesting combination of vertical & horizontal elements.
If your intention was for the viewer to focus on the main tree, then perhaps highlight its trunk & darken the lower foliage.
Once this contrast is established, reducing the importance of the central, stone structure & boat should direct attention to the tree, Hopefully.

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Old 02-17-2020, 07:53 AM
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Re: Irish Summer

Thanks Bizz! Maybe I am starting to develop a style. I look at every painting and see every one as so different but would love to get a more unified style. The boat does look small in the painting. There were several small boats in the water over there that looked like they could fit 2 people at best.

Thanks Michael! That is a great tip and I may do that to see if it helps direct the view and slightly darken the value of the boat.
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Old 02-17-2020, 11:25 AM
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Re: Irish Summer

Hi Wes,

This seems like a painting not sure of what it is in search of. All of the elements are painted nicely, but seem separate from one another instead of working together to make a unified statement. One of my teachers used to talk about how effective landscape paintings often have a hierarchy within the elements and that a painting that has a dominant shape (or mass), a secondary shape, and a tertiary shape will have a better chance of working compositionally. Like anything, it's not hard set rule, but can help when deciding on composition. If your focus is the lone tree, then figuring out how does everything else in the painting support that idea is what is key. Do you sketch? Doing quick little "thumbnail" (small) sketches are a great way to work out explore composition and solve problems before putting brush to canvas. They don't have to be involved, only a few minutes each, and sometimes even a few lines can tell you a lot. Another benefit is the sketches also prime the brain to think creatively and can get you in a better frame of mind when getting down to painting.

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Old 02-17-2020, 01:28 PM
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Re: Irish Summer

Thanks for the valuable feedback Randy. I know I should thumbnail sketch first but rarely do it. I took a workshop with Kathleen Hudson last year and she does a thumbnail before any Plein Air painting she attempts. If I had done one, I likely wouldn’t have painted this scene and would have painted something else that may have turned out better. I will try to a better job of this going forward and probably need to draw more often to sharpen those skills.
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Old 02-17-2020, 01:43 PM
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Re: Irish Summer

I didn't know what the stone tower was so it caught my attention. I think overall it is beautifully painted.
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Old 02-17-2020, 03:14 PM
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Re: Irish Summer

I think the horizontal element (stone wall shore edge) needs to be broken with another vertical element. Perhaps another boat with a mast. But then that would probably become the focal point.
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