Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Wrong Side of the Tracks?

I've finished my painting of the railroad bridge over the Charles River in Boston (18"X24" on stretched linen) and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I was attempting to set up several themes and I think I succeeded:
1) Triangles in the landscape.
2) Ideas of ugliness and beauty.
3) Text in the landscape, both acceptable and, um, not-completely-acceptable.
4) Art imitating life imitating art, etc.
5) Hard vs soft areas in landscape (and strong contrasts).
The triangle theme is obvious. I'm attracted to strong geometries in the landscape. I always liked geometry in high school, so I guess my mind naturally keys in to that.
The ugliness/beauty theme is rather subjective. Street art is all the rage nowadays (at least with the critics). I like juxtaposing the rather cliché prettiness of sailboats with the edge-of-repectability in grafitti. To be fair, there was a lot more grafitti on the bridge than I included in the painting. The bridge already has a very strong personality, it didn't need any more.
The text in the landscape (bridge and sail) theme is obvious.
In the art imitating life... theme I chose to make art of a real-life scene that includes grafitti (the "Obey" face by Shepard Fairey, patially visible at left) that was created from another's photograph of a real living person (André the Giant). It feels a bit like looking into a mirror reflecting a mirror, then again, and again...
I made many little decisions in bringing this painting to finish from the last posting of it. I minimized the buildings on the left in the distance to keep them from contradicting the perspective of the image. I am still concerned with the 2 tree-covered peninsulas that are in that area. The bigger one is behind the smaller one — that is contrary to perspective, but I think I will live with it. I made sure that the more distant foliage is significantly cooler in color temp to push it back. I kept the sailboats soft (other than the large one) to add to the contrast with the iron-hard bridge. Next up, NOT a bridge!

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