This week I made great steps towards completing a painting commissioned early this year: it was to be a retirement present and none of my existing pictures quite fitted the bill. So the intended recipient was given a free hand to come up with his own suggestions. Yep, already sounding challenging!
He did his homework thoroughly and enthusiastically, even down to producing a map showing where to leave the car to walk to the chosen viewing spot. And as you walked along the (very muddy but picturesquely rutted) track, you got wonderful near, middle and far distant views.
But, just repeating that ‘as you walked along…’ , the elements the customer wanted could not all be observed when you actually stood still. As I wasn’t filming but painting it required some ingenuity to compose a satisfying picture with them all in: the track, the modern ‘windmill’, Shapwick village, the woods and Glastonbury Tor.
Back to a well-known problem: dealing with a view that is many times wider than it is high! There’s still a long way to go to the left before you see the windmill. And this isn’t even from the chosen viewpoint.
So these were the elements I dragged together and the general plan was approved:
I still took a lump out of the middle and reduced the size of the village. Finally:
And my (satisfied) customer said: The painting captures all the points we discussed and it takes the eye beautifully down the track to the middle and then the far distance. Job done.