Friday, May 22, 2009



My latest goal is to achieve harmony in my paintings.  I'm doing several small studies in order to achieve this goal.  It's easier to get my ideas down small.  It gets more complicated when I paint bigger.  But at least the initial simple concept is recorded at this point.  Then if I can carry out this same idea painting larger, I believe it will be harmonious.

How does one achieve harmony?  I'm still exploring that one.  Yesterday I saw a program on the art of Japanese flower arranging - an art that goes back thousands of years.  There are very few "ingredients" in these flower arrangements.  But every addition is well thought out and balanced.  Negative space is also an important part.  Of course, I related this to painting because I believe the same ideas are important.

I would love to know what you think creates harmony in a painting!


Marian Fortunati said...

Wish I knew, Janelle!!

I do like your moody little painting, though!!

Jill Berry said...

On this one, I think the warm earth is singing lead, with the cool blues harmonizing. Nice work.

Jala Pfaff said...

Janelle, this is stunning!!! don't touch it...

For me, harmony is always best achieved with a limited palette. And that there be a majority of one color, less of another.

When I lived in Japan (20+ years ago) for six months, I took a class in ikebana. I loved it. I think my natural love for asymmetry-as-balance gave me a big advantage in the class and made it seem not at all strange.

Christine Mercer-Vernon said...

hi janelle, i'm so in awe in the change in your work since your DP workshop, really lovely. love the way the sky and water reflections play against each other here. there is a moodiness about these paintings that just draws me in. really lovely work.

harmony, for me, is achieved through a very careful use of negative space. since my compositions are simple i rely heavily on very careful placement of my subject and slight manipulation of edges and the shapes defined by them to balance and unify the painting.

Janelle Goodwin said...

Hi Marian, Thanks for stopping by!

Hi Jill, I like the sound of that!

Hi Jala, Ikebana. Thanks, I couldn't remember the name. I would love to hear about your experiences in Japan sometime.

Hi Christine, Thanks. Yes, I'm trying to pay much more attention to negative space - good point.

Silver said...

Hey you.. just thought of you and needed a hug. So i came here. ;)

sending you my love,


Kathleen Krucoff said...

Hi Janelle ~

This is another beautiful painting. And it does have a very serene feel for me, so yes, Harmony is a great title.

Even though I don't paint, when I see balance and subtle colors in a painting...that says harmony to me.

And I've been meaning to tell you how much I enjoy the glimpses into Goodwin Cottage. :) Hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

Janelle Goodwin said...

Hi Silver, Hugs to you! Hope you're enjoying this Memorial Day weekend. Maybe doing some BBQ?

Hi Kathleen, Thanks! You show great harmony in your glass work. Still enjoying my earrings! Thanks for mentioning Goodwin cottage. It's just fun.

Karen said...

I think harmony means balance, in all parts of the painting: if I sharpen something, I must soften something else; if I dull something, I must make something else exciting, etc.

In this one, you've got a wonderful harmony in color temps. going on!

neetzy said...

Musical Harmony is usually achieved using several variations of theme. The players must agree to the theme. Everyone wants to play the melody, but the back music is equally important.

I think this can be achieved as a visual artist using color. Keep your colors relatively similar for hamony. Add some bright colors later.

Janelle Goodwin said...

Hi Karen, Ah yes - I must remember to sharpen parts of my landscapes and soften other parts. Good to remember. You give a wonderful example of this in your latest paintings! Thanks!

Hi Neetzy - I do think of color as musical notes and painting is so similar to music. I like your analogy!

Celeste Bergin said...

Very nice painting Janelle..

I like when some of the sky colors are "elsewhere" aside from the sky. For me that can bring harmony to the painting. It can be very subtle but a bit of sky in the tree tops is such a nice touch.

Your painting has an overall "softness" that I also find to be harmonious. Not everyone can pull this type of thing off--but you can. It's definitely working.

Laurel Daniel said...

This is beautiful Janelle. You are really creating a wonderful mood in this scene... the color is fabulous.

Janelle Goodwin said...

Hi Celeste, Thanks so much. Yes, sky color elsewhere does bring things into a closer harmony. I'm trying to remember to do more of that now.

Hi Laurel, Thanks! I always love your great compositions.

Melinda said...

Hi Janelle,
I think you've got some good balance going on in this lovely painting. You have strong composition, balanced color and a feeling of peace instilled in the work.

Harmony? Sometimes I think harmony in a painting is more about a successful conversation between paint and artist, plus a good conversation between line and shape. Of course, less is more too.

Then, breaking the rules while keeping all the elements happy adds one's own signature.