On Pushing Your Ideas

Here’s one of my recent paintings: Maryvale, Foggy Morning. This painting is a great lesson on pushing in the direction of your ideas.

There were three key ideas I wanted to convey through the painting:

1. The thick fog. I remember walking with Chontele and seeing fog seep over the distant hills. Within moments, we were completely enveloped and could only see a few meters in any direction. It was like that Stephen King movie, The Mist, thankfully without the monsters.

2. The luscious greens in the foreground.

3. The stillness of the water.

In the painting, I pushed in the direction of these ideas. I made the fog thicker and the edges softer. I made the greens in the foreground richer and used thick, impasto brushwork. I used a palette knife to smooth the texture of the water.

In some areas, I departed from the reference. But only to better convey my ideas about the subject.

Painting in this way is also less prone to visible mistakes. If I push my ideas too far, it looks like an artistic expression rather than a mistake. No one will complain if I make the fog too fleeting or the still water too still.

Happy painting!

Dan Scott