The Fourth Meeting of The Dead Paintings Society, 1 June 2012
The last session before the Vermont Workshop was spent with a large-ish painting, 22 x 28", which had been declared DOA by its creator.
Discussing the painting, I was perplexed by the bridge (here faintly seen along the horizon). Mis-reading the scale of the scene, I took the bridge to be a quite large structure, seen from a considerable distance. In fact, I was told, it is a much smaller bridge, and not so far away. What I had supposed were treed banks on either side of the bridge are, actually, just an embankment.
I was also a bit troubled by the high hill on the right, and by the trees? bushes? growing thereon. The fact that I didn't know if they were small trees or large bushes was another issue. The water seemed to be going uphill, not just receding from the viewer.
For some reason, the recession stays flatter---to my eye.
Anyway, I set to work. I removed the cold, cold blue from the sky, and lowered the hill. Then, not satisfied with the horizon line, I lowered that too. Now I was really in for it, and I changed the palette to a more silvery, greenish color scheme. Thoughts of Holland popped up, and I made a small structure straddling the waterway.
What is it?
Who knows? For me it's just a design element.
I worked out some verticals by planting some trees, and built a house for the Scandanavian (Mr. Johanssen) on the right. Johanssen seems to prefer white houses, and he's always building away in my paintings.
Then the problem arose: whether I wanted the viewer to have easy access to the site, or whether I wished to keep the viewer at a distance. I opted for admittance, and made a purpose-built ricketty bridge.
Because I'm behind on posting, due to last week's workshop, when we met again today I was able to get the reaction of the original artist. I'm happy to report that the new version passed muster.
Oh---about that pollarded willow, near the center of the painting. Last year Johanssen was a bit over-zealous about cutting it back, and this year it hasn't leafed out. I'll let you know if it recovers, and sprouts again.