Friday, July 12, 2013

"Wednesday Evening" 16 x 16 oil - leading the eye

I have written about this painting in its early stages.  You can read about its progress here in these two earlier posts:
 "Newbury at Night" start
"Newbury at Night" in process

Years ago I asked my painting teacher how I can know when a painting is finished.  His response was that you need to know what your painting is about, know the idea behind your painting.  When you can do nothing more to support the idea, then you are finished.  At the time, I'm not sure I had enough context to understand what that meant, but over the years it has stuck with me, and is the drive behind my painting process.  
Wednesday Evening - detail
So... "Wednesday Evening" has always been about the transition occurring at dusk in this Boston intersection - the juxtaposition of commuters' speedy exodus and pedestrians meandering into evening.  I designed the painting to use the people in the foreground as your path into the painting, while leading the eye along the road and into the acceleration out the ramp to the Mass Pike. I used many, many shapes in the painting to lead your eye into the distance, into the dusk.  As an example, the detail shown here shows two   street signs and the upper tail light of a car in the middle ground.  These three shapes are intentionally angled to point to the blur of light as the cars exit the city.  I also supported that idea by softening all the edges in the high contrast areas of the painting, the lamp posts, the large dark structure, etc.. but I left the edges crisp in the taillights' glow along the Pike.  The tall building on the right side acts as a stopper so your eye doesn't leave, and I added the idea of architectural detail which  points down to the same area of light.  

My intention was to lead the eye, and to keep the viewer engaged in the painting, observing the contrast in tempos between the Pike and the street.  As always, interested in your thoughts.  Thanks for looking.