Seeking Drama

“Cliffside Dusk”
oil on linen panel, 8″ x 10″
Every artist is confronted with the problem of entertaining the viewer. Entertaining is something that takes more than a mere glance. There must be something other than the usual, mundane descriptions of what ever the artist is painting. This is especially true when there is little more than two shapes in the painting . . .one light and the other darker.

I have been playing with the same motif of the cliffs and bluffs along our coast for as long as I have been painting. Against the sky or the sea, the cliff is nothing more than a severe bump or rise out of a flat area. What makes a “bump” entertaining? Go on, tell me ! what?

The answer is not in the reality, but in what the artist creates. The more we copy what we ‘see’ as reality, the more mundane it can become. So the artist must do something to arrest the viewer and hold his attention. Or, the painting must hold some degree of shock value, I suppose. The artist only has a few tools to play with: Value, Shape, Color, Texture and Line. That is it. Value, shape and color hold the greatest potential for developing that ingredient of ‘shock’ or ‘visual stimulus.’ (Notice that details are not mentioned! . . .or considered . . .it is NOT details that matter.)

So, here is my shot at value, shape and color to carry the day with a ‘bump.’ I long ago let go of the photos and the actual subject to help me. Sketches from memory and establishing a strong compositional design (value sketch) before doing any painting is the basis for a strong, bold painting.

5 thoughts on “Seeking Drama”

  1. Hi Marian . . .I have to tell you that I have a neighbor / watercolor painter by the same name!!!! No Kidding!

    Yup. It is done from sketches and value studies. I have painted MANY scenes with cliffs and skies. Something has to be done to keep it interesting!!

  2. The SAME name??? Like first AND last???
    WOW… That’s unusual. First my last name is Italian (no, really ( ; o ) and the way it’s spelled is plural in Italian… mostly people are fortunatOs. And second, my first name isn’t all that common either.
    SUCH a small small world. So she’s a watercolorist, huh? .. Is she online??

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