If your landscape is flat and delicate, you can introduce drama using this framing device.
Paris Street; Rainy Day, 1877, Gustave Caillebotte (courtesy Art Institute of Chicago).
The Art of Painting, 1665-68, Johannes Vermeer (courtesy Kunsthistorisches Museum)
El Río de Luz (The River of Light), 1877, Frederic Edwin Church (Courtesy National Gallery of Art)
|Nunda Farm, by Carol L. Douglas. This is not repoussoir, but rather a path drawing you into the composition.|
|Repoussoir gone bad, by Carol L. Douglas. Why do you think the evergreen on the right fails to draw you into the composition?|
|Hedgerow in Paradise, by Carol L. Douglas. I'm deliberately blocking the viewer out here. Why do you think that is?|
|Hedgerow in Paradise, reimagined with repoussoir. How does it change the composition?|
In your work, do you have something similar to Hedgerow in Paradise? Your assignment is to do a sketch based on that painting or drawing, reframing the composition using repoussoir. If you don’t have a painting like this, use a photograph from the internet. I’m interested in the before-and-after. I used Photoshop, but you can do a simple sketch. It doesn’t need to be complicated. How is the scene changed with repoussoir? Do you like it better or not?
Repoussoir is a technique that’s particularly applicable to the midwestern plains and to ocean views. I’ll be stressing it at my Rochester workshop because of the delicacy of the glacial landscape at Mendon Ponds, but it works well with water, too.