BLOWN AWAY is a foray into a new area for me, namely the wonderful world of whimsy.
My wife and I were exploring Scotland earlier this year and were impressed by the art presence throughout many of their cities and towns. The inspiration for BLOWN AWAY came from street murals in Glasgow, Scotland, which are amazing by the way. Some of the work is jaw dropping, not just in it’s artistic beauty, but also in its messaging and creativity.
This composition was challenging on many fronts, most notably the profile of the child blowing the dandelion. To be clear, I’m not a portrait artist, never will be, don’t have any interest… BUT it comes in handy from time to time. This was my first portrait, aside from a painfully horrible self-portrait attempted years ago and subsequently burned shortly after completion. I have to admit I’m very happy with the outcome – well, if I’m honest, I’m more surprised than anything.
The umbrellas were my wife’s idea, which resonated with me as soon as she made the suggestion. However, the artist in me forgot how hard they can be to get just right, especially when their arrangement is pure chaos. I should have done a time lapse video so you can see the constant turning of the panel to paint the umbrellas in their varied orientations.
The final challenge was compositional. While I don’t fully embrace, nor know, all compositional rules and recommendations, I’ve come to appreciate the effectiveness of not straying from the core basics. Case in point, how do I avoid actively moving the viewer off the painting while embracing the action of blowing seeds off a dandelion, which magically turn into umbrellas. The solution I tried to incorporate – if it works is up to you to decide – was the use of brilliant light on the dandelion and the boy’s face, which are concentrated on the left side, and pull the viewer’s gaze back to that area after they initially follow the unfolding umbrellas to the right. Secondly, the shape of the overall mass of the umbrellas was intentional, so as to point to the focal point of the dandelion. Lastly, and this is a bit more subtle, the opening of the two largest, far right umbrellas was done as a sort of barrier with regards to being opened in a way that points back to the focal point.
Have a great week and thanks for reading!
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