Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Painting People

For some time now I have avoided painting people, be it portraits or figures. Some people have suggested that my older bottle still life works were occasionally a metaphor for people, although it was not consciously intended. This lack of figures could arguably be caused by one of two reason. Painting people carries many difficulties, such as any distortion in the figure will automatically impact the painting. It will be an obvious mistake or commitment towards abstraction. Compare this to a landscape, where a tree could be altered if the composition required, with no critical results. On the other side, the lack of people in my landscapes could be construed as a desire to emphasize the wilderness, even to allow a more personal interpretation. All the scenes in my current paintings exist, and are in a forest I have worked in extensively.

For me, however, painting has been above all else about colour. It's what I like most about other paintings, and what I seek out in my own, for quite some time now. In some ways, my current landscapes are an excuse, or structure, in which to apply my favourite hues. The trees in this landscape, oil on canvas, 24 by 36", do provide structure and rhythm, but the key components are areas of colour. Even the trees, or this scene, were chosen because of their colour and how it would interact with the light sky. Not only are there no figures in any of my landscapes, but also nothing that has a direct human element, such as a barn, shed, or house, all of which carry compositional weight due to their direct connection to people. Nothing to distract from colour.

No comments: