A Rocky Start

The new year seems to have gotten off to a rough start in my studio and in life in general. With a number of family distractions on the health front, putting our home and my studio on the market, actual studio time has been at a premium. To top it off one of the first paintings off the easel was a total disaster. But I decided to post it anyway.

What  intrigued me about the scene was the flow of water cascading over the rocks. The problem is that my focal point is not that evident. Is it area one or two as indicated on the focal point thumbnail below)? When I went back to refer to my notan (value study) I was shocked not to find it. I hadn’t done one; something totally unlike me. The notan would have given me a clue of where I thought the emphasis should be, the area with the most contrast, the most interesting shapes. It also would have revealed the value distribution. In doing a graysale posterized adjustment in Photoshop you can see that at least 90% of the study is midtones, the lights are scattered and there is just a touch of darks. No strong shapes here, for sure!

value distribution

division of space

division of space

focal area?


When I step backed from the easel the first thing I saw that made me shiver was the division of space I had created. Three equal horizontal bands were staring me in the face! Bad design. I felt like I flunked Composition 1A. To add insult to that injury, while I have repetition of line with the diagonals coming in from the right, there is little counterbalance.

And then I came to aerial perspective. That’s simple, there isn’t any.

But you may remember “challenge” was the word I chose to guide me through the year. This little disaster is going to be the fodder for a larger and hopefully more successful attempt. The gauntlet has been thrown.


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3 Responses to “A Rocky Start”

  1. Dianne Poinski Says:

    I learn so much when I read your blog. Thank you!
    Good luck with all your distractions and challenges. I am thinking of you and your family.

  2. Loriann Signori Says:

    It’s really interesting to read how you break down you analysis. Marianne, you are so knowledgeable. Thanks for sharing your process.

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