Painting Simple Patterns in the Winter Landscape
All realistic paintings are exercises in abstract design.
Yet the abstraction creates the visual effect of representation, if not realism.
In winter, the combination of flat light, deep snow cover and leafless trees results in extreme simplification of the landscape elements. In other words, we are seeing individual pieces of landscape simplified, and combined together into larger shapes of value and color.
This watercolor painting, done on a cloudy February afternoon, embraces simplification in several ways. The value range, already narrowed by sunlight muted by thick clouds, was narrowed even further. Color is purposely muted and much of the pictorial plane is white, or nearly white. It was even painted with only four colors – cadmium red, cobalt blue, raw sienna and burnt sienna. If it wasn’t for a couple of very representational elements – the trees to the left and the red barn and roof shape in the center right – this could pass for a modern abstract painting.
Of all the paintings done in the Light & Landscape series, this is the first painting to really echo the effort of last year’s Winter Hundred. The painting includes a broad view of the landscape and includes a great deal of the sky as well.