Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Einstein’s Simplicity

I’m not normally the quoting type. But sometimes other people say things we wish we had said. Such is the case with an  Albert Einstein quote: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Wish that was mine. It is, however, how I view developing a composition.

In “Cape Bluff,” (left) the old beach house sits on a bluff in Harwich overlooking Cape Cod Bay. There’s another house nearby, a telephone pole, and other elements of clutter, both natural and man-made. But at the core of almost anything one could paint (a street scene, an interior, a trash pile, etc), there is some design element that can be made beautiful. By stripping away (or “drawing out” as some artists like to say) detail, we get to the core of what caught our eye, and of what can become a strong composition. In this piece, the scene was not arresting, but rather ordinary (if you’re familiar with Cape Cod). But the wind-blown cedars and the blast of bright light on the cottage wall, was worth exploring, embellishing and, ultimately simplifying into a painting.

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