"City Sanctuary", plein air pastel on dark Wallis sandpaper, 14 June 2009.
Painting the garden has been a combination of fun and extraordinary challenge. Verbalizing the difficulty with fellow painters has raised the issues involved and helped pinpoint them. The design is already done. There is a wild variety of shape/color/pattern issues that both limit artistic interpretation and force compliance of some sort for there to be a rendering at all. The color swaths also add a potential compositional hazard but are required in order to anchor the subject in reality. There's a lot going on. Because there are so many shapes/patterns/edges, the effects of the sun traveling is much more apparent than when in nature a plant community is rarely isolated to a handful of specimens and also limited to a handful of species. There is a formalized aspect of the garden space that again is predetermined and limits/compells the design making artistic processing much more convoluted and risky for the final interpretation to be successful.
And, so, today I learned something important about getting the work done in a garden. Use the rectangles. Working in my currently happy format of very wide, and wider, I'm finding that the inherent rectangles of the garden can be used to structure the shapes in my painting compositions to my advantage. It is more geometric and much less organic, so be it. Leverage these things.
As Robert Genn has said many times about showing up for the work and finding one's way, today's painting showed me how to wrangle the rectangle into a subordinate position that helps the composition rather than hacking away at it.