Friday, 19 September 2014

Midnight Magic Painting - More Imagination than Reality

Midnight Magic
24" x 36"  acrylic on canvas 

This painting, like so much of my work, is based on a photo. In this case it was one that I took at my cottage one fabulous afternoon in late May, several years ago. The day was unseasonably warm, and the blue blue sky was full of big, fluffy clouds. Their perfect reflection in the calm lake water was amazing, and the stillness made the moment magical.

I have tried to paint this scene several times, but, despite loving the memory of the day and place, found the relentless symmetry, ultimately uninteresting. I realized that what I really wanted to paint were the reflections in the water, and continue to explore this subject in an abstracted, stylized way. Boldness and imagination seemed in order.....thus the photo became a point of departure.

I started this 'new' work last spring, envisioning a very different scene from the photo view - with a dramatic night sky and an even more dramatic interpretation of the water and reflections. The latter, as you can see, is highly imagined, and was great fun to paint. However, but it took all summer to figure out what to do with the sky. Originally I had sketched in some simplified clouds, but they just seemed to take up space and look wrong. When I returned to this canvas a few days ago I worked at the clouds for a while but they didn't improve, so then I painted them out and had an aha! moment, realizing that a simpler cloudless sky would work much better (whether it makes sense logically doesn't really matter), and offer a perfect visual counterpoint to the wild water below. And I think it does, quite successfully.

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