Some experiences forever change your perception of art. The Edgar Payne show at the Pasadena Museum of California Art is an example of one of these rare occasions when I am transformed. Awed by this incredible exhibition of paintings, I have come away even more convinced that composition is the single most important factor in every work of art. Each painting is a lesson in design; examples of a master painter orchestrating color, value and subject to produce images that are not only beautiful but constructed so perfectly that it is impossible to imagine them any other way. These principles can be seen even in photos of Payne's work, but what you can't see in a flat reproduction are the long deliberate brush strokes, the thick paint and the layers of colors.
Seeing how Payne first put a layer of darker blue under a lighter pink to form the highlights of the mountains gave me a glimpse into how he thought and the steps he used to achieve luminous lush colors. On close examination, I could see where he added a sunlit mountain ridge over a dark shape to design a better composition. I could image him adding this highlighted area to break up the large dark shape because the composition demanded it, not because it was there in nature.
I intend to go back to this exhibition many times during its time here in Los Angeles. I recommend that you make every effort to see this once in a lifetime exhibition. Who knows if it will ever come together again.Topics: Inspiration and Art
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- Landscapes by Clyde Aspevig
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4 Responses to Edgar Payne; Master of Composition
I am so glad we went. You're right. I have thought about little else since getting back and I WISH I had bought the book there instead of saving a buck to buy it elsewhere.
I too want to go back... again and again and again.
How lucky we are to have this exhibition right in our own back yard.
First--how cool to have your blog post listed in Brushbuzz's top 10! Congrats! I agree, Edgar Payne is a master at composition. I live too far away to get to see the show of his work, but I can imagine how wonderful it was to stand before the paintings.
I didn't realize until I looked at my visits that day and then saw why it was high. So nice to have the FASO community to give me the chance to have my blog read by so many.
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