Monday Motivator: Sometimes, Avoid the Vistas

“I sometimes avoid vistas, preferring to study more intimate subjects such as a rocky outcrop or tree trunk. These sketches usually end up being reference material for larger studio paintings.

“… Because I don’t mean to display these sketches, I don’t overly concern myself with design. Rather than worrying about the rule of thirds, for example, I place my marks in an intuitive way; I’m more concerned about studying my subject than placing it neatly within some framework.”

Michael Chelsey Johnson, “Beautiful Landscape Painting Outdoors” page 133

When deciding what to leave out of a painting, the answer is sometimes “nearly everything”.

When deciding how to arrange things in a composition, the answer is sometimes “anywhere, stop procrastinating and get painting”.

And when deciding where to position yourself to paint on location, the answer might be under a bridge.

Michael Chelsey Johnson sketching at Sligachan on Skye
(Photo from June 2018 when I had the joy of painting alongside Michael Chelsey Johnson on his art retreat to Skye. You can see Michael’s painting on his blog here.)

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