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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Rooflines revisited

Still no title, 24x30, oil on board

Last seen in 2015, 24x30, oil on board
European roof lines intrigue me. It is the catawampus way of building without a grid I think that just makes them so interesting to me. Since most of the places that have these great angles are also usually built on hills, helps. The history that can be discerned from the ages of the tiles and the shape of the stucco or bricks or stones. This scene is from a walled town in Burgundy called Semur. It was an afternoon's byway on our way from Dijon to Paris. I did the bottom painting and was never quite satisfied with it. The color of the roofs are too similar with the red one jumping out in the middle like a bulls eye.

After finishing up the Cesky Krumlov scene recently I decided to give this one a revamping of its rooftops. I had figured out in that one what was missing in this one. In the original lower image, I was going for a more orange and violet complement but somehow it didn't work as well as I would have liked. I felt the painting lacked something. I set about in the upper left hand corner and worked my way left to right on each layer of roofs going for visual interest and texture forcing value shifts as needed, something I am often hesitant to do for some reason. Being bolder in adding pinks and pale blue greens to the rooftops. I had started on that idea but was timid in not going further. Adding texture to the red bulls eye roof in the middle helped to add to the visual interest and tied it to the break up of shapes in the shadows down below it. In that big shadow shape down below and heading up the right side of the painting I added a bit of lighter blue gray to stair step the tops of the bricks up to the tin roof to help the circular rhythm that I was originally attracted to.

I changed the color of some of the houses in shade leaning towards the blue green in some and adding more yellow red green to the once violet cast shadow on the house that is to the left and in the middle row. The cast shadow now blends from the house across the wall unifying the two. The wall with its tiles casting a shadow moves from that yellow orange to a more violet when it gets to the right.

In the deep shadows (window holes, doorways and blocks), I warmed them up. Where once they were towards the dark blue violet I added some yellow making them not only deeper but helping to break up the too blue violet of the shadows. This adds to the eye movement through the shadows and back up into the light, stair stepping the shapes.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for taking the time to detail this study. It's an adventure reading your description and then studying the various elements you highlight. I tried to look at both pieces as a whole, as well. there is so much to love in the first painting, I cannot choose either above the other. I do like the new depth of color and texture that enhances the statement of the age and character of these buildings. The shadows are deeper and the alleyway is better defined by them. I feel like we lost the sky in the process, though; it has become more of a canvas than the embracing element in the first painting. I think the brighter, simpler shades of the first create more visual dance, while the refined and complex shades of the second bring it closer to the heart. I haven't been to this location, but I do recognize the spirit. Very interesting. LNB

Anonymous said...

I hear what you are saying here. It is always a risk when you rework a painting that you will lose something of value even you gain something else. As much as I loved the red roof it is smack dab in the middle and I felt it was acting as a bullseye or a visual stop to the movement I wanted in the piece. I felt in the original that I had not captured the different ages of the rooftops (texture). I did not change the color of the sky but I think toning down the bright orange of the top roof lines changed that relationship to the blue, which is why you noticed it. There is some of that bright orange showing through the new layers but it is not so you can see it in this image. As always, I am so appreciative of your astute observations!