42-SIMPLIFY

I’ve been playing around with abstraction. What is that really? When I paint, I am starting from somewhere and rarely wind up with something that is fully faithful to the original reference point. Even if I do, it’s an abstraction of sorts; I’m depicting something that’s three-dimensional on a two dimensional plane. It’s a magic trick, a kind of optical illusion.

Keeping that in mind helps me to be looser and freer with what is happening in that picture plane. I don’t take it too seriously. It is a playground of my own making. I can do in it as I wish. I can make it a very convincing space or something more random and imaginary.

Typically, I do start with a photo and a feeling for a place. Maybe there is a memory or mood attached to it. Maybe I’m simply drawn to the beauty of the moment. From there, I break it down into what is the easiest and simplest way for me to paint it. I try to see the large masses and the strong value differences and then I paint those. I’m looking for the big statement. Then I look for the smaller statements and add them if I feel that they will add to the idea that I’m trying to convey. If they don’t, I edit those elements out.

This week, I played with how far I could go in simplifying. What is the real strength of a painting? Is it the details? Do they carry it or is it the underlying structure, the bones that matter? Is it both? At what point is a composition no longer interesting or a “finished” piece? This is the dance!

With Warmest Regards,
Marla

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