Friday, September 16, 2016

The mind of the illustrator: Scattered Showers

Scattered Showers  ©2016 Karen Mathison Schmidt
16 x 16 inches (approx. 40x40 cm) • oil on 2" deep cradled (archival) GessobordTM
gloss varnish (UV protective)
sides painted dark umber • can be easily displayed with or without a frame


Very often it happens that when I’m planning a composition (especially landscapes), my reference photo serves as a springboard rather than strictly a map. The paintings that result usually end up being the ones I like best when they’re finished. They’re definitely my favorites to paint! 

My reference photo for this painting was a composite of about three photos I took one day on the way to town. (And before you start yelling at me for taking photos while driving, it just so happens that – this time! – Paul was behind the wheel whilst I wielded my trusty Canon EOS 7D Mark II.)

The main part that made me want to paint this was the billowy clouds. And I wanted a composition that would emphasize the sweep of the clouds up from the horizon. I exaggerated the curve of the road, the angle of the horizon and the height of the crest of the hill in the foreground to get the effect I wanted. 

It wasn’t my intention at the start to make the road into a dirt road, but by the time the underpainting was finished – and going totally against my own advice when I caution my students against falling so much in love with the underpainting that you don’t push the painting to an even more glorious destination – I had REALLY fallen hopelessly head over heels with all those great reds and oranges, so red Louisiana dirt the roads became. 

Hey, I think I just came up with a new maxim. Here, I’ll make it big and colorful and put it in italics so it has more authority:

Part of being an artist who also teaches art 
is knowing when to go against 
your own advice. 

No comments: