Why Did The People Cross The Road?

Today was demo day at the Evergreen gallery. It was a typical Evergreen day. The weather, as per normal, was clear early on then it clouded up and rained a little. From inside the gallery we dealt with the motorcycle noise as the biker folks passed up and down the street and we dealt with the sound of breaking glass as the guy from the winery across the street made trip after trip to the recycle bin. Dozens of dozens of faces peered through the windows trying to see the small sculptures put on the sill and what Mark (gallery owner) had on the walls. Most went on by and out of sight down the boardwalk but a few art lovers were curious enough to venture inside and get nose to nose with what ever tripped their triggers.

12x24 oil demo

This is what I did for the folks today who came in to see the gallery. It’s done from a photograph I took last summer during the Estes Park Plein Air event. (coming up again soon) It went rather well I think. People seemed to like it for the most part and I think the ones trying to seem indifferent were sneaking a look as they made their way from one wall of paintings to another. Either way I had fun and as a final touch I added these two figures. The two weren’t in the photo but I thought it would be a nice touch. Something to get folks to feel like it could be them walking down this dirt road. I liked them, Mark liked them and I thought, “yep! it’s finished. ”

Then the painting came home to dry and get a signature. I put it up on the easel and it hit me. These two imaginary people were totally in the wrong place.  Their placement made the bigger part of the right hand side of the painting seem like it wasn’t necessary. I’d have had to crop about 20% off the right side before the piece came into balance.  Shoot! I liked it better before. Yet I had done some killer work on the figures. I really hated to do what I had to do. Mark is gonna suck a lot of wind when he sees the image below..

12x24 oil demo

The folks have moved on it seems. The painting is back and feeling more balanced. It’s still a nice piece and at least I can see myself taking a leisurely stroll along this back road and enjoying the sun and a nice breeze. There’d be a nice slow conversation as my friend and I meandered along. And….once in a while we’d have to make for the ditch when some local farmer came bombin along. A great way to spend a little while on a Sunday afternoon. But I am not one to let well enough alone.

12x24 oil demo

So why did the people cross the road? In a word, “composition”. the painting works at least as well as it did without these two figments of my imagination and I got what I wanted. I am able to give the viewer the opportunity to get into the painting too.

Until next week,



12 Responses to “Why Did The People Cross The Road?”

  1. Vicki Barton Says:

    The figures “seeking shade” for a brief moment draw the viewers in for sure. Let us know when you are doing a demo. Vicki

  2. I like this and understood your explanation for the figures being in the shade on the other side. Balance was the reason. My friend Jim thought some old rusty car in the field might be a different thought too. I do like your ‘road’ paintings, Eldon. They just invite the viewer to enter the painting and stroll down the road. Good job


  3. Hi Vicki, the next demo in Evergreen is slated for Aug 8th. We’re making a mailing list. Wanna be on it?

  4. Hi Eldon,

    Love this description and explanation. I liked the figures in both positions, but I understand why you moved them. I guess the fact is I like everything you
    paint, and have to be thoroughly schooled to see what you perceive as an error.
    Beautiful painting. Absolutely amazing. Lucky people who got to see you demonstrate how you work.

    Take care,


  5. Thanks Barbara, Ya know, that’s an idea worth looking at a little harder. I think there’s a fine line between the two but I wonder….Does a piece of art turn out the way it does more because of what we know to be the true and correct way of painting or more because of what we perceive to be error.

  6. Hi Peg, Thanks for the comment. I think Jim might have a fine sense of art and composition. He solved the problem differently than I but his suggestion would have worked. Are you guys coming out this Aug?

  7. Don’tcha hate it when something you like, is also “off”.
    Your final conclusion was definitely the right answer and I am reminded of Walt Gonske’s figures which are often, if not always the center of attention but the viewer never perceives them immediately.
    It is that subtle “ah ha” that is SO wonderful.

    I have to say as well, seeing how you create solutions like this make me see clearly why you are the great painter you are and I am still a wannabe and would be scratching my head, trying to figure out why the painting wasn’t working.
    – C

  8. Hi Coni, Yep! I hate it. 🙂 In writeres circles they call it “killing your babies”. Too, I guess, I’m an OK painter but that other stuff about you bein a wannabe I aint buyin. You forget… I know your work. Your wannabe days have been over for quite a while. You rock!

  9. Vicki Barton Says:

    Yes, Please add us to the list. The weather this summer has really put a damper on my outdoor painting but fall may be kinder. We’re looking forward to Estes. Vicki

  10. Rick Frisbie Says:

    Okay, if you say so Eldon. But I don’t really understand what you thought was wrong with the folks before the “crossed over”. Was it that they were too close to the center and not in the 1/3-1/3 or golden do-hicky?

  11. Hi Rick, yes! If the figures had been moved straight to the right to about where the fence is they’d have better placed in the right side of the painting. That or removing about 20% of the right hand side of the piece would have done the same thing. “Crossing” them over seemed the best choice.
    Hey! Good to hear from ya. How’s the painting coming?

  12. Rick Frisbie Says:

    Wish I could watch your demonstration. I need a good “fix”. I’m in Montana at a Plein Air event in Livingston. I move to Wyoming Wednesday to try to catch up with the Wyoming Plein Air event. Going through Yellowstone should be fun. I need to be in Cheyenne by Sunday or Monday. Have fun in Estes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: