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Designing within Different Shapes

One year ago I was on Monhegan Island, off Maine’s coast, with 6 students. It has been a place for artists for more years than I know and the scenery deserves this attention. We were there for a week and painted in many different places, found the market where fresh, hot, cinnamon sugar donuts were sold at 7am, ate lobster and lobster and lobster. I also ate mussels but didn’t have others join me in that meal.

Perhaps my favorite view was of a lobster shack we frequented often for both inspiration and food. The first image is the more traditional rectangle. The focal point is the red umbrella which is the tiny lobster shack and the large building on the right side frames that portion and pushes the viewer into the picture plane. Both paintings were done on location and drawn with a color brush in sepia prior to the addition of watercolor.

Lobster Shack  12″x16″

The second painting from this spot is a long horizontal. It shows much more of the waterline and the many homes along it. Because of that, it is a longer, more distant view. It also looks as if it was a sunny day because of the vibrant color and calmer sky. We had all kinds of weather when we were there – sunny, blustery, rainy, foggy, misty, etc.

Monhegan Panorama  8″x19.5″

I enjoy doing the same subject matter in different ways. By designing in different shapes, you get a chance to solve more compositional problems and avoid doing the same painting over and over. The advantages of working with familiar subject matter is obvious…what you know you can draw more quickly and accurately.

I think I may try this again in a square format and a really blustery, rainy day. That would be fun!

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