I don’t know about you, but things in my life do not always go exactly as planned…. or even close to exactly as planned.
This painting is a fine example.
In order to understand what took place you need to know that my paintings are heavily textured, so making changes to major compositional elements is impossible once the texture has been applied. I wanted to do a painting to express some thoughts about the difficulties and rewards of being “a little different”. I was going to call the painting “The Outlier”. Towards that end the painting was going to depict a row of trees and a single tree, with the solitary tree separated from the others and standing alone in a field. The sky was to be dark in order to better highlight the trees, and the solo tree was to be illuminated by a beam of sunlight coming from somewhere outside the picture.
It did not turn out too well.
The painting was dull and confusing, the illuminated tree was in discord with the rest of the painting because the light source was not apparent. So I made changes. I lightened the entire sky so the illuminated trees would not be so incongruous.
Still no good.
I then added some haze to the trees on the left, hoping to add depth and put more focus on the center of the painting.
I added some color to the “main” tree and added some interest to the sky.
Better, but still not what I wanted.
I decided to depict the row of trees with golden leaves and paint the single tree red. I also changed the sky again in an effort to provide a visual clue as to why the sky was overcast but the scene was illuminated by bright sunlight.
I just made it worse.
Things were not going well. These were not “happy little trees” or “happy little clouds”. It then dawned on me that the angled cloud bank was working against me. The problem was, with my textured style that cloud bank was not going away, and I could not paint a rational light source as long as that huge cloud was hanging low over my trees and blocking the sky. The painting would have no focal point if I could not spotlight the “main” tree.
It did not help that I was working on this painting in the early winter, during a period of time when it was cloudy and raining for days on end. I was looking out of my studio window, trying to decide what to do with the painting. The gloomy sky offered no encouragement or inspiration until… there was a break in the clouds, and the landscape was suddenly illuminated by bright sunlight. The clouds quickly closed ranks, but…
I had my answer.
I was having difficulty because I was trying to make the painting be something it wasn’t. This painting was not about being an outlier, it was about finding hope when things seem hopeless. I did not need to eliminate the clouds, I only needed to make a small opening for the sunlight to pass through. That, I could manage.
Life is like that too. Sometimes, all it takes to fix a bad day is “A Break In The Clouds”.
That is why I love art.
© 2015 James Golaszewski