Often, the simplicity of a painting will cause us to pause our critical thinking and allow us to just take in the image for its own sake. I liken it to A Philosophy of Simple Economics. This happens when a beautiful balance is struck “just so” between shape, proportion, light and shade and other components of a picture. Our visual senses somehow evaluate these things on an inate level and we may then respond favorably for reasons we can’t explain.
I love these types of paintings and it is a quality that a lot of artists strive for. Some paintings are for the purpose of telling a story outright with narrative props and actors, others deliver a specific point of view or social comment, and some are derived from a spiritual or philosophical search or connection.
Landscape painting, like this one I did of Aliso Canyon in Orange County, CA, is part of the latter. The goal for me is to dillute the details into a comprehensive whole that works best as a balanced composition and to hopefully deliver that moment of simple contemplative engagement. It could be like an investment strategy, where the economy of strokes delivers the maximum effect. In this respect, the simplicity of the landscape reaches the edge of the formal modernists’ concerns for sublimation and search for form. In other words, abstraction. With this kind of analysis, however, the words just get in the way.