Process 2021

Updated: Jan 17

Intuition, inspiration and exploration shed light on creative possibilities. Understanding how to visually communicate and playing around with options provide exponential solutions and approach sets the stage. Creativity can be abundantly exciting, even overwhelming! Process is the first real move from hypothetical to critique -able and therefor this step can be filled with trepidation but optimized when the journey is comfortable. So go slow at first and give the new idea regular time and attention. There will be many process-decisions to make: composition, media, approach and technical aptitude are a few examples. While the first phases of creativity feel like an expanding cumulous cloud, process feels like a raindrop. And then another. Just take it one raindrop at a time. While there are no rules, the transition from all-inclusive brainstorming to do-able steps are just that - doable, comfortable steps that sustain the journey by keeping the journey enjoyable.

This is where I will share my process, from the beginning. Are you ready? Have a seat, get comfortable.

Location. Safety first. I am a 57 year old woman with a health condition so I like to be close to amenities, like my car. It's just a fact. Then of course drive time. Day light. Logistics.

"Next, I take lots of photos. The eye needs a little time to adjust to the charms of a particular location. I always seem to find the sweet spot about 3-5 shots in. These are a few of the shots I took, in order. The last one is a keeper.

It was the best spot of the day, picked because of its natural view, needing the least amount of compositional change. I liked the lighting in the middle of the day. I can park close to get out of the weather, it is far enough away from other people but still close to the road with a restroom within a few minutes drive and above all, I can be outside and paint outside and be in the sun but blocked by the wind, thanks to a cluster of 15 foot boulders just out of view.

In the studio, I take time to study the landscape for focal points, leading lines and awkward objects that can be shifted without changing the authenticity of the landscape. I trace what think will ultimately be the foundation of the composition. The top of the mountain range. The edge of the valley. A clump of trees. A few rocks in the foreground. Drawing it will come later. First I need to consider how to make the most of atmospheric perspective. There are a few key objects that can help if I shift them a bit left or right or slightly change scale and make the space cues more obvious. If I ever-so-slightly shift the diagonal lines of the snowfields and grassy plains of the midground I can add drama to the space between foreground, mid-ground and background. Too much and the illusion is given away.

Composition matters more than trees that look like trees and mountains that look snow capped. See past the delightful details of the landscape. Simpler than a cartoon, the mountains become wavy horizontals. The ancient ponderosas became triangles, large to small as the disappeared into the valley of Moraine Park. Other significant elements, like boulders and bushes become circles and ovals. The cluster of cottonwoods, a rectangle. Then simplified again. And again. Here are 2 stories, 2 messages in composition. One is the long, steady horizon. The other is as the ever increasing in size trees, rocks and bushes. For me , this landscape story is about the long horizon. Redraw the composition once more. Horizontal lines of the mountains and foothills, 3 stripes. The cluster of cottonwoods, a small rectangle just off center. Loose this and the magic is gone. This composition is like a Barnett Newman painting, one long line from edge to edge. A line so steady you can feel the eternity of it.

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