"Autumnwood" (30x40) o/c
This painting will be exhibited (along with another, smaller piece) in the Maxwell Alexander Gallery booth at the 2018 LA Art Show, Los Angeles Convention Center, January 10-14.
This piece was a composite of references from field paintings, plein air sketchbook drawings and photos. I wanted a subtle "period" feel with the girls dress and hat, but for that to play second fiddle to the surrounding landscape. I spent some time this fall in Northern California (before the fires started) and did quite a few studies of dying trees, dead leaves and grass, combined with the late-day sunset where everything is in much more harmony palette-wise than any other time or season.
The light source is weaker then, so I was mindful to keep the value range between light and shadow much narrower. I also chose the direction of light so that the ground shadows would direct the eye to the horse and rider yet without any direct sunlight on her face. This helps keep the composition working as a whole, integrating the landscape without over-emphasizing an obvious focal point...
The feeling I wanted was a 'contemplative pause'...the falling leaves and overall palette suggest not only a change in season, but perhaps a pivotal time in the young woman's life; a last ride on a favorite horse, or a farewell to a familiar place...whatever the situation, she has paused to consider it.
Being in my fifties, I pause a lot more than I used to, season-to-season appreciating the beauty around me while contemplating the best use of whatever time I may have left...hopefully many more seasons and thoughtful autumns to come!