Have you ever held onto an image in hopes of painting it one day, you pass over it periodically but always end up choosing something else.
This is one of those images. Why did I want to paint it? I liked the mood of stems and leaves going in all directions while the girl, among the chaos pumped water from an old iron pump. What kept holding me back was my perception of its complexity.
I decided it was time to paint it or discard it, so the struggle began, but with a happy ending.
Here are some of the “tricks”, methods I used in order to make this scene paintable to me.
Before starting I searched for the patterns that would make the best eye path through the scene.Studying the foliage I could see how using some of the longest stems to lead upward around and down would make a good composition.
Omitting a bright area of sky in the upper left helped to direct the interest into the central part of the scene instead of up and out the corner.
After the face was established I used stripes of paper to mask off areas so I could concentrate on others, it felt less overwhelming and helped me to actually see what was going on.
When I felt painters’ fatigue creeping in I even set my phone on a 15 minute timer. Every time the alarm went off I turned the painting and photo a quarter turn. Working on it upside down and sideways offered a new perspective and freed my mind up to just think shapes instead of objects.
The more I finished the easier it was to continue with the remainder, until it seemed I said all I wanted to say about this scene.