Knowing what I'm trying to accomplish in a painting is primary for guiding every other decision I'll have to make in creating a composition. If I'm simply beguiled by an attractive "thing" (tree, barn, creek, whatever…), I'll wind up taking dictation from that thing without thinking through how I can compose it so that it will emphasize what I find beautiful about the scene. That, for me, is the fun and satisfaction in painting.
Almost without exception, composing requires stopping to think about what I want to say and what I have to work with. It's rare that I find something that's ready to paint just as it is. For instance, I may try several ideas for cropping the scene and identifying the focal center. I may then want to remove unrelated clutter, rearrange what's there for better size and balance relationships, or any number of other things that I feel will give my primary concept emphasis. I find that my best paintings are about one thing, and one thing only. That concept must be the star of the show. Everything else plays a supporting role, and a lot of what's there won't even make the cut, when I've answered the question, "What's it about?"
IN THE GROOVE
©Jimmy Longacre 2017
12x16 oil on canvas panel
subjective realist landscape paintings