English Cottage Sketch

| December 20, 2009
english cottage pencil sketch

English Cottage Sketch

I’ve been pouring over my new Richard Schmid book, “The Landscapes,” for the past week feeling motivated and wholly inadequate at the same time. I have to keep telling myself that this guy has a few decades of canvas on me. What was also mildly depressing was that the paintings in the book from 1967 looked just as amazing at the ones from a few years ago! I could gaze at the 300 paintings in this book all day long. There is so much life in Mr. Schmid’s work. He has a keen talent for transitioning from loose and vibrant areas of minimal focus to points of masterfully directed edge and detail. I was telling my wife Donna that it almost seems as though the trees in his paintings are characters in and of themselves that dance and direct you to the star of the show. I highly recommend the book if you like Richard’s style of painting. The reproductions are many and large and several works are preceded with images showing the initial stages of the painting.

One of the things I noticed in a lot of Mr. Schmid’s paintings were tight and somewhat unusual crops of structures. My naive  artistic mind wants to put the whole house or building in my paintings. After studying the images, I think cropping out some of the structure allows the viewer to focus on the other interesting areas of the painting and not solely on the buildings. Not all of Richard’s paintings are done this way but there is certainly a commonality among many of them in this way.

Wanting to paint something in the spirit of Mr. Schmid’s work, I decided first to take a stab at drawing an English cottage sketch. I will eventually paint this but I wanted to work out some of the value relationships before wetting the brushes and eventually wiping the paint off of the canvas. This scene to me is about the stark contrasts between the strong geometrics in the cottage and the free form vegetation that seems to want to envelop it. I also want to stress the bright sunlit areas of the bushes directly adjacent to the cottage. This was a good and worthwhile exercise because it allowed me to move the values around relatively easily to get the desired light effect for the final piece. I was surprised how much some of the areas needed to be dialed back value wise to get the sunlit vegetation to pop. From a composition perspective I hope the sloping foreground  brings the viewer into the painting and the branches emerging from the dark foreground bush to the right lead the eye back toward the cottage as the area of secondary interest. I may be off on this concept and am happy for anyone to critique my thinking you like. I will post progress when I have time to get into translating this to the canvas.

Category: Fine Art and Painting

Comments (1)

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  1. Randy Saffle says:

    Schmid is the master landscape painter. I want me some “The Landscapes” book! I think 99.99% of artists would get feelings of inadequacy looking at his work, so don’t fret to long.
    I love cropping out some of the structure. It puts you right into the scene & adds mystery and drama. I love your sketch. My mind starts filling in the scene like a movie or a good book. This is my favorite so far. Keep this up and your going to make me want to get out the graphite.