The Scene is Set

Enter the players, stage left.

I painted this a few years ago from the Lake Wanaka foreshore. It is one of my favourite palette knife paintings. When I am travelling and staying at motels I prefer not to use brushes because of the cleaning problem. Palette knife, small panels and plenty of paper towels keeps me clean and tidy after a day’s work and everyone else happy.

The main reason I’m showing this today however is not the technique employed but the necessity for narrative When you paint landscape, especially broad vistas, you come up against the “Stage Set and Player Problem”.

A large empty space seems to be waiting for the actors to appear. In this case I looked at the finished piece and decided to add the sail boat.

Cover it up with your finger and you will see what I mean. Yes, there were boats there that day, and yes I could have used something else. I felt that the sail added  something else beside narrative, that is, a sense of scale.

Pro tip: I added the sail back in the studio when the little panel was dry. If it didn’t work I could easily have wiped it out and tried something else.