Monday, July 19, 2010

Arthurstown Paint-Out

A group paint-out to a wet and windy Arthurstown yesterday. A combination of bravado and stubborness helped me to complete two paintings despite the very difficult conditions. The rain cleared for a couple of hours but the very strong wind persisted. I did the first one between about 9-30 am and 11-00 am, the second between about 12-00 pm and 1-30 pm. A much needed sandwich and pint of Guinness in a nearby pub dampened my enthusiasm somewhat when I discovered the rain had returned in the afternoon, so that was it for the day!

Wet and Windy, Arthurstown
(12" x 10" Oil on Canvas)

Cloudy Afternoon, Arthurstown
(10" x 12" Oil on Canvas)

Here are photos of the two scenes:-


Susan Roux said...

These are wonderful. I visited Ireland for the first time this past fall and you captured it so well.

Michael McGuire said...

Thanks Susan. I'm delighted to rekindle some hopefully fond memories for you. Hope you got some better weather than this though!

Mick Carney said...

I'm interested in the thought process that went into the compositional cropping that you selected, particularly in the first painting.

Michael McGuire said...

Hi Mick,

I'm not one for spending much time pondering the rights and wrongs and the "rules" of composition. I usually have a quick look around to find something that interests me. Once I've decided on what I'm going to paint (as in "what exactly interests me here?"), I use my fingers to make a "frame" and check out a mumber of possible crops. Once I see something that feels right, I get painting very quickly. I rarely spend more than a few minutes doing all of this.

With the first painting here, my main priority was to find a spot where I got some shelter from the wind and rain (the quay wall here) while still having something interesting to paint. Any scene with multiple boats has the potential for several paintings, but what caught my eye here was the interesting pattern created by the boats and their reflections (the small boats were continually moving - the most interesting pattern was created when they were somewhat to the right as in the painting).

I suppose if I think about it I "cropped" the boats because none of them was the centre of attention, but also because cropping nearly always adds interest to a painting - I don't know why - it just does. But as I said, I really just played around with a couple of options and the one I picked just looked right to me.

Another thing that I usually look for in a scene (largely intuitively) is a good mix or "balance" of horizontals, verticals and diagonals. Paintings usually appear more pleasing to the eye, perhaps "relaxed" would be a better term, when there is a balanced mix of line directions. But this is by no means a dictat. For example on a very windy day, especially if you want to portray that, looking for visual clues that suggest wind direction can make a painting look more dynamic.

I like Richard Schmid's idea that the best composition is the one that looks right to you as the artist. It's your painting after all. And there are no logical reasons why compositional "rules" should exist.