Breaking The Rules


Different fences not only add character to your property they are fun to include in a painting. Plein air painting is something I can do during the pandemic and unlike before, passers-by don't come up to see what I am doing. This is a little painting I did in the old town of Louisville, Colorado. I was attracted by how the flowers, especially the roses, were climbing all over the fence. Starting with the pink roses against the white picket fence, I surrounded them with rich darks so that they would command attention. I thought of Claude Monet and how he loved using pink and green next to each other in his flower garden paintings.

It is unusual to have a focal point right in the center of a composition but sometimes something works in a small painting that would not work well in a larger version. With the two fences converging at that point, it moves your eye in different directions and sometimes it is fun to break one of "the rules." I believe it is advantageous to understand the rules for painting, like not putting the focal point in the center of the composition, because this can prevent you from making mistakes that you will regret later. If you do understand the rules then you can figure out ways to break them. Andrew Wyeth was a master at this and I think he enjoyed discovering ways to successfully break rules that other artists live by. There is no denying the strength of his compositions and I have learned a lot from studying his work. Another of my favorite artists, Victor Higgins, often darkened the corners of his paintings as a way of keeping the viewer inside his work and you can see that is what I did here. Having more time on my hands has allowed me to spend time studying the paintings of artists I admire. Happy Painting! Dennis Pendleton

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