When Shelby and I were in school at York Academy of Art we had a great design teacher, Mike Klinedinst. He had high standards. One thing Klinedinst hated was what he called “the red circle trick”. He said a red circle is a weak design element because your eye goes straight to the red circle and stops there. A red circle is a bad focal point.
Our great drawing teacher Ted Fitzkee told us “Never paint a flaming sunset”. If you paint a flaming ball for a sun that’s the landscape version of the red circle trick.
Now when Shelby and I see the red circle trick we laugh.
I don’t know what Klinedinst would think of this painting since I painted a gray circle for a focal point. I hope he’d like it because your eye can move around the painting. I also don’t know if Fitzkee would like the painting but maybe he would because I drew and painted it freehand in plein air. And because I kept correcting my circles and ovals until they looked about right to me. Badly drawn ovals and circles bugged Fitzkee and since he had an influence on me, badly drawn ovals bug me too. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t paint a flaming sunset if I wanted to. Chances of that are slim though because I work slowly and sunsets don’t last long.
To get a lot of texture in the grass I dropped paint on the canvas I first wetted with Maroger Medium (painting in the couch) then scratched through the wet paint with my palette knife. And I drew some skinny lines on top with thin paint.