I’m wrestling with the aftermath of a heavy cold which has left my head full of mucus, and my painting thoughts decidedly stultified. The best course seemed to visit the past and find a useful painting I can talk about.
This seemed a good one, on the face of a picture full of interest with splendid machines and a lively crowd. Actually there are two pictures here and the dual focus is destroying the composition. The title is “Lost in admiration”.
Just for a moment put your hand over the little girl in red and her friends and family. Now the focus is on the traction engines and their admiring crowd especially the boy in the white jacket. Deep maroon paintwork, the sun of the brass and the tyres, the long shadows, the crowd with their backs to the autumn sun, form an agreeable whole, and satisfy the eye.
Now hide that part of the painting and concentrate on the group of friends. This is a good assembly, people of differing sizes and mutual interest except of the little girl who is “lost in admiration” of the mud squelching round her red wellies. We focus on her, her red coat and boots, her bright hair, her serious concentration.
We have contending foci and an uncomfortable painting. This is quite an old painting. Because they were all in the photo, they are all in the painting. I could change her clothes to green or blue so as to avoid drawing the eye, – but I still like it the way it is and since it’s oil on stretched canvas I’m not going to do anything about.