watercolor 15 x 22 inches
In my town there is a staircase which leads upward some 80 feet (or more) above street level. The stairs are not well known by most people. The top of the staircase looks down on the main intersection of town with streets exiting from several different angles.
I chose to paint there en plein air shortly after finishing open studio. There is a lot of action in the scene along with the icon of our town, the town clock. Because of the distance and the downward perspective, there are a lot of small shapes and many different directions with which to deal. On top of all that, the center of the intersection is empty. I have tried several times to paint this scene unsuccessfully. This day, however, my decision to subjugate the clock and not make it the central theme was, I believe, a good choice. By leaving the center of the painting empty and surrounding that center with cars and objects leading in different directions, I established a circular composition.
This was a huge change for me, because my nature is to pick an object or spot in a scene and exaggerate it to push the viewer toward considering that part of the composition as the subject of the painting. This time, it was just empty space! I cannot remember ever painting a circular composition even once in my twenty plus years of painting experience. It was an interesting day and quite a change up in my design approach. I suppose that seeking change now and then is what puts us artists into unknown territory and possible launch points for breakthroughs.
Three cheers for “”Change Ups”