Saturday, April 11, 2015

Embellishment: Veranda of the Burroughs' House (Oil, 11 x 12 )

I didn't go out to paint today but stayed home, doing some chores and reading. When I was reading, I looked up, from time to time, at the painting of the Burroughs Home I did yesterday. Somehow I felt there was something wrong with the picture but was unable to put my finger on it. Finally, I could not hold it anymore and simply laid down the book and kept staring at it, lost in thoughts.

I recalled yesterday's experiences and tried to figure out what was wrong. I knew I got the form right, but in a way I didn't feel the strong sensation of the striking contrast between the bright yellow house in the sun and the heavily shaded veranda. I never take pictures with camera when I was painting plein air. I don't think I will change it because I believe it might help a little bit with value, but it would do more harm than good for color. I remembered that when I first got there, I had a feeling as if I suddenly took off my sun glasses. I realized that I got both value and color wrong in the picture. It began to dawn on me. As I was painting there over the two hours, gradually I was forgetting the important initial feeling as my eyes adapted themselves to the dark shaded area where I stood. Looking back, I guess what I did was what psychologists call "incubation."

OK, now is the aha moment! I imagine myself standing outside the shaded area and rationally visualize how I should see the scene during the first two seconds after I arrive there. I believe I got the right relationships in value and color. I have just embellished the picture from my memory and am happy about the effect. I have also added some details, too, for enrichment. Now you may compare it, before and after.

I am glad I finally did that. It reminds me of what cartoonist Scott Adams said: Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.

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