Thursday, July 10, 2008

Massing Daisies

When you paint a field full of daisies, it's important to keep two things in mind. First, the individual flowers are not evenly spaced, as they might be on some cheap wallpaper. Instead, they grow in clumps. Second, these clumps aren't evenly spaced, either. They make an arrangement - a design - in the grass.

All this sounds obvious, but it's easier said than done. Our minds want to impose order on seeming randomness, especially if the natural pattern is difficult to discern. I'd rather spend a few moments looking for the hidden pattern rather than impose my own. My own is usually a poor substitute.

Here is a demonstration I did this week for my students. I've painted this field by the sea umpteen times, and every time it's different! The daisies have really taken over the phlox we had a couple of weeks ago. Look how the daisies are massed, and how even these masses are arranged. They make a pleasing path to the distant fir tree.

"Daisies in the Field"
9x12, pastel, en plein air

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