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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Into the New Year 2: The Wheatfield and Why it was Successful

I am still not posting but am reared to go full steam ahead after the 15th of January. Some of the more energetic members of the family are climbing Lion's Head at this very moment. I have done it a few times in the do not have a straight climb but you circle around and around...yes 360 degrees of splendid views. Some I my new followers mentioned that they will visit the country during the soccer olympics. Make a note of climbing Lion's Head!

To post this morning I have decided to look back to my most successful painting and analyse why it worked. I hope that some of this will be helpful to others too: My depiction of a Wheatfield in the Swartland outstripped all my other paintings in popularity on the blog, on Facebook and according to e-mails I received. Why did it work so well and what will help me in future when planning a work of art?

  1. Building up some anticipation. Looking back I can see that I was in quite a fix. It was stormy and rained a lot when we expected summer weather. I could not reach my wheatfield. So I kept referring in the social network to this golden field eluding me. I can now see that waiting for it was part of the allure of the painting when I eventually encountered sunny weather and could complete it.

  2. Yellow Colour Magic: Kandinsky, as he opened the way towards abstract painting, did a very good study of colour. He called light blue a receding colour and yellow an advancing colour. We also have science encyclopedias at home where yellow is named for its "shouting" properties, in other words yellow attracts attention and advances towards the viewer. Also remember Van Gogh's several sunflower paintings where the flowers and the background are in different hues of yellow, making his work such eye-catchers! There are many colours with great qualities waiting to be used this year.

  3. Nostalgia: A wheatfield painting comes with the built-in emotions that relates to bread, frugality, survival, goodness and health. I was tearful myself when I received ALL the words of America the Beautiful in my comments! A record comment in length and if that kind lady will send me her address, I will mail her a print of the painting. (p/s A canvas print was posted of to blogger "Autumn Leaves")

  4. Biblical Connotations: Wheat and bread have always played a soft role in religion. In the stories...Ruth and Boas...and in the time-honoured ceremonies. This year I will look for more scenes with universal appeal!

  5. Art Historical Connotations: Of course a wheatfield stands in the tradition of Constable, Van Gogh (who did several paintings of wheatfields, both happy with sunshine and bales of wheat as well as threatening with reapers and crows), Morisot, Monet and Van Ruysdael. There is also the modern "earth art"-mode a work by Agnes Denys near Manhatten. Look it up, it is a famous contemporary statement! There is a great upsurge in History of Art, I will use my art books and magazines this year!

  6. Composition: As was realised in the Renaissance curly lines and diagonals bring movement and agitation to a painting but calm horisontals lead to a comfortable state of mind in the spectator. In the market, many buyers of art would prefer this restfulness against a living room wall to encourage "winding down" or in a boardroom to sooth anxiety. The wheatfield I painted, answered this need of a pieceful, soothing piece. In the coming year, I will plan ahead the type of mood I want my compositions to generate.

I encourage all art bloggers out there to consider their best pieces of the last year and to ponder for a moment the elements that made the work a success!


  1. Fantastic in-depth post Marie! Evocative and definitely something to ponder on... Thanks for the tips!

  2. Thanks for the analaysis Marie and your email. I'll certainly reference this from The Art of the Landscape this next week.

  3. What a marvelous post, Marie! I especially liked your last point in seeking to stimulate the mood you want your painting to project. Always reacting emotionally to art in some way, I see this as a truly important basis for a painting. Of course, each of us being different will have our own emotional response, and sometimes maybe not the one intended...But for a painting to evoke an emotional response of any kind makes it a superb painting to my mind. I am once again touched in revisiting this beautiful painting!

  4. Great post, Marie! Your analysis is food for thought.

  5. What strikes me, is the sense of depth...
    due to the close-up texture in the foreground, working with the colors of atmospheric perspective.

    (I hope the link info I sent makes sense.)

  6. Great post! I will think about which painting is my best of the last year. What a lot to think about!

  7. Whatever the analysis, this is a great painting Marie!

  8. Great analysis, Marie. I think I need to look back at the finished art I posted and see what people liked best. Analysis is good. Only through understanding why it worked can we repeat success.

  9. I was in New York 2 months ago and went to the Guggenheim Museum. The theme was Kadinsky. It was beautiful. I knew very little about him but then. I am not an artist. I wish you had some paintings in Canada that were abailable. I love the painting with the small white houses by the sea. I have been there around 1993.

  10. very good blog, congratulations
    regard from Reus Catalonia
    thank you

  11. I really enjoy your blog and the painting is so beautiful...Very interesting analysis. Look forward to the year ahead and what it brings as well.

  12. Maree and Sherry, I could not paint these 2 weeks of January but hope the analysis was useful.The way you follow and comment is always precious to me!

    Katherine, your very academic comments on The Art of the Landscape concluded the analysis for me, and I will treasure the knowledge I have gained from it.

    Thank you,Dean,Jill, Pam, Liz,Mary,A2Z and Linda. Glennis and Reus, thank you for stumbling upon my blog, I will visit you now.

  13. Hi Marie,
    Thanks for coming by my blog. I'm glad you did.... I love yours! Great post and fabulous painting!!

  14. Marie, What a wonderful post, you have given us all something to think about. Love the painting too.

  15. Happy New Year Marie,
    I was tickled to see your color period! How fun. It really isn't too difficult learning to negotiate blogger. You just need some quiet time... it gets easier. I like this landscape very much, wish I could see it larger..
    I think the idea of reflection upon the best of our work in the depth of winter is a great idea. have t add that to MY list of NYR.
    Best to you!

  16. Blogger is pretty user friendly and you'll get the hang of it.
    This is a great blog but if I don't get up off this chair and STEP AWAY from this computer I'm going to grow roots ;)

  17. this is a real gem!...i can feel the breeze blowing!


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