Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Growing--Two Versions of a Landscape--New York Hills Painting

This pair of paintings represents a rare undertaking for me--creating a second version of a landscape I had already painted once. You have seen the painting on the right before, on the November 5 blog post, along with the following description: " . . . Look to the Hills, II, recalls a deeply renewing visit to Warwick Conference Center near Warwick, NY a few Octobers ago. Our long-time friends, Ken and Arlene Tenckinck, manage the center and direct all its programs. As I type this, I find myself smiling and breathing deeply with pleasure--they are remarkable people, Our too-infrequent times together are always rich, meaningful, and full of laughter."
The original Look to the Hills painting, on the left above, differs in the painting palette, in the appearance of the large tree, and in the degree of detail developed in various areas of the composition. It remains a personal favorite as a reminder of that wonderful visit with treasured friends and for the tranquil feeling it gives me. Although I am open to selling most of the paintings I currently have on hand, I plan to keep the first version of this scene.
Why did I decide to create another painting from the same reference photos? I guess part of the reason is the attachment I feel to this scene. I also like an occasional break from Coastal North Florida scenes and felt like a return to the mountain vista of the Warwick, New York area. Finally, I was curious to try a second version with a different palette, a more limited group of basic paint colors from which I mixed all the colors you see in version II.
There may be some truth to the saying that "You can't go home again", as the second version proved to be much more difficult than the first. It simply refused to come out well and is still a distant second to the first in my opinion. However, hearing the response of other people to the two pieces has been interesting and instructive. At my Open Studio Reception in November, several guests really liked Hills II , and at least one of them is still considering purchasing it. Their opinions serve as a good reminder that taste and preference in art are very individual and that I should not assume that viewers will always rank paintings the same way I do. If any of you want to vote for one or the other, that would be fun, and I would love to hear the reasons for your preference.
Question of the day: What experiences can you recall that illustrate the wide variation among people in their taste in art?


  1. I liked both of them.Beautiful use of light and the colors.

    Free Hand Madhubani Painting

  2. I can see why you preferred no. 1 - the feeling of space and the landscape going on forever are so prevalent in the first one. Although the second one is really lovely, I think, just from a 'feeling' point of view, I prefer no. 1.

  3. Honestly, Mary, I like version II better! LOL It has a more realistic look, less "painterly." I think that is the first time I've used that word. LOLOL I like the textures you've added in all areas, the longer tree branch. But then with a screen name like mine, that probably is not surprising. Yep, a tree hugger who does not like to see tree wounds. LOLOL Anyway, they truly are both beautiful!

  4. Wow! It's fun to hear from all of you--and is very helpful. So often, we are not the best judges of how our own work will impact others.

    Thank you, Megha--it's good to know that you (as queen of fabulous color) feel that the light and colors work on these.

    Liz, your view is interesting and I appreciate you giving the reasons for your preference. Your are a generous artist and blog-friend.

    You are not alone, Autumn--as I mentioned, others have liked that version best as well. Thank you for your perceptive response.

  5. Both are beautiful paintings Mary; but the second version is detailed brilliantly! I love the warm browns you've given along the flowing water.
    The first one is a calm tranquil scene while the second seems to echo the blowing wind.
    It's great how skillfully you have portrayed the same scene in two different ways.
    Take care.

  6. Thank you, Sadia, for your kind reflections on these two versions of the scene. You know I value your opinion highly and love your art, so your insights are truly valuable to me.

  7. Hi Mary! Thank you so much for visiting my photoblog, it warmed my heart big time. :)

    I like Hills II, i am not an artist so my reason may not be valid. as i compare the two, the 2nd looks more natural to me. i like the aura it exudes. :)

    same here, i normally judged my photos differently with other people. i only get to know that a photo is better than the other after receiving reviews from my followers.

  8. I'm not a visual artist, but I do believe the second one invites the viewer to rest a moment in the chair beneath the tree, which has become the primary focus. The mountain view takes precedence in the first one. The second one appeals to me as a vision of "welcome."

  9. Thank you both so very much for your thoughtful replies. I know from visiting your blogs that you are both artists, each in your own talented way, and I value your perspectives very much.

    Of course, the responses of other painters are tremendously helpful to my painting process and growth. But, I am even happier to have some non-painters weigh in on this comparison because you represent the kinds of people who appreciate visual arts and can give us painters a clear indication of how and what our works communicate to you (and perhaps to others like you). It is interesting that you both prefer the second, each for your own reasons.

    I am grateful for the time you took to visit the blog, reflect on the pieces, and compose your insightful comments. You are generous blogging friends, Cher and W2W!