Friday, July 20, 2012

How Artists Choose What They Paint

 Most of the time when I set out to paint, the landscape chooses me. The light, or the shape of the land, or the combination of colors calls out this is it - stop-  paint me! The truth is that there's no shortage of images in my mental file cabinet waiting to be painted. I'm also fortunate to live in a beautiful place with white sand beaches and turquoise water. It's a paradise that provides the material for the coastal paintings that seem to resonate with my collectors.

Gulf Islands National Seashore©Theresa Grillo Laird - oil on canvas - 22x36
Permanent Collection U.S. Federal Reserve Board

Sometimes though, I'll choose a subject just to explore and learn from. This past week I've gone no further than the back yard of a house in New Jersey. There's nothing remarkable about the scene of three backyard sheds with an immense fir tree towering over them, yet I'm working on my third version.

The first version I painted over a two hour period in the late morning.  I was attracted to the peeling blue and white paint on the middle shed and the deep darkness of the tree branches.

Backyard Sheds©Theresa Grillo Laird - oil on canvas - 11x14

The second version I painted late in the day. I forced myself to work much faster than I usually paint. It was finished in thirty minutes. I was surprised at how effortless this one was after the more thought through first study.

Backyard Sheds 2 ©Theresa Grillo Laird - oil on canvas - 11x14

The third version, still in progress, is an exploration of the mosaic of color and texture in the fir tree very late in the day.

Backyard Sheds 3©Theresa Grillo Laird - oil on canvas - 11x14

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