Whether you work on location or use photographs, to produce a successful painting many decisions must be made.The framework on which these decisions are based is the elements and principles of design. Objects can be rearranged, subdued or emphasized, included or excluded. The time to make these decisions is at the planing stage of the painting. Once you have decided on a subject and what sort of mood, concept or message you wish to convey, a few rough thumbnail sketches will help arrange information.

In this painting in order to keep attention focused on the red car and the activity in the yard, strong tonal contrasts outside this region were subdued or eliminated.
The dark bush under the window on the right and the tree behind the house were left out. The heavy foliage on the left was softened and the shadow in the foreground removed. The tone of the road was lifted, and its size and shape made to echo that of the sky, concentrating detail in a diagonal band through the painting. This dominant diagonal emphasizes the hill and adds to the chaotic feel of the subject.

By emphasizing the richness of the terra-cotta roof and eliminating the confusing background, a warmer more relaxed atmosphere is created. Filling the empty chairs and opening the umbrellas adds life to what is a fairly lifeless photograph. The center of interest is created by increasing the tonal contrast on the building and figures below the copper roof dome and is balanced by silhouetting the palm trees on the right.


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