I think it's starting to sink in that even the simple paintings are never simple yet you have to work at simplifying to get there and that's not simple! So yesterday I played around with painting an interpretive and more expressive version of an ocean scene. I also played around with various brush strokes in order to add action, movement and interest (see above). When it came to the sky I started painting with my watercolor brain and used a very loose oil and terp mixture and just went at it. Same for the below. Then I started building from there. I tried to keep the original loose feel of the sky and decided to leave it. Then today, while I was out watching the ocean waters through high powered binoculars with a full heart from spotting a whale (yeah!) a few more things started to sink in. Literally.
I see that there are few if any straight lines or pure colors in nature. Every color is merging and emerging with another. Be it reflective from above or revealing more from below there is no such thing as a solid large area of the same color. Even when the sky is blue, even when the clouds are white, even when the water is green. Look more deeply. The sky isn't blue. There are hues of blue, white, purples, violets. The clouds aren't white. There seems to be an unlimited number of colors and tones in the clouds and they are constantly moving. And then the water. Certainly where the waves are moving you'd expect various colors. And yes, under the clouds the shadows move under them. But every inch of the water is a different color or tone as well as various shapes. And none of them are straight or pure but at the same time they are. Pure I mean.
How do we capture and share these purest of natural images? Is it better to exaggerate the colors of nature or minimize them? What about the shapes? What is the best way to evoke an emotion. How is it that a very simple grouping of shapes and colors in a very abstract way can make us feel the same as when we view a very well painted traditional landscape?
Sometimes I just want to lie in the grass and absorb them, just like when we were kids. And think more about this until it just starts bleeding out of my brush.