What's the big idea?
Every good painting begins with a strong visual concept, a big idea. This is something that beginners usually miss completely because they are so concerned with trying to capture the likeness of their subject.
When I first clapped eyes upon this stunning scene in the Rees Valley of New Zealand I was struck by the strong color contrast of yellow/orange and blue. Since that was the first thing that I loved, that's what I concentrated on. In fact I went further and exaggerated the color differences, making the blues bluer and the yellows more orange. Spending the time to initially figure out what it is that you love most about a scene will pay off in the end, because suddenly you have an aesthetic goal to aim for rather than just trying to copy what it is that you're seeing. Suddenly you become the conductor of the orchestra!
Here is a brief list of some examples of visual concepts:
• Interesting shapes
• Strong color
• Contrasting textures
• Quiet and simple
• Intricate complexity
• Evening light
• Weather effects
• Light effects
• Strong horizontal vs verticals
• Light shape amongst dark
• Dark shape amongst light
• Lyrical movement
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