Creative Spark: Taking Advantage

Reaching, Autumn
(36×24) by Lynn Goldstein

I have been fascinated with trees for as long as I can remember, but it was a passage from a book that inspired me to look at them again from a vantage point I hadn’t considered since childhood: ground-level. The experience led me to paint what was to become my Reaching series of paintings, which depict views into the treetops from below. I had never seriously pursued a series of this nature before, but I knew that I would be exploring trees for some time to come.

When we study art, we discover that many subjects are portrayed at eye-level. We have all depicted subjects from this vantage point, of course, but since beginning my work on the Reaching series, I have been inspired to think about other perspectives that might be interesting. While in Hawaii, for ex-ample, I photographed the street from the balcony of my hotel room, looking down at a scene that was far below eye level. I had a similar experience when I took a ride in a hot air balloon; the trees look really fascinating from a viewpoint that we rarely see.

I’m inspired by the work of Wayne Thiebaud, Richard Diebenkorn and Avigdor Arikha, all of whom are artists who have depicted subjects from vantage points that are anything but ordinary. As a departure from my series, I have recently been exploring trees as they appear re-?ected in water. This approach is a direct result of my desire to explore our perceptions and find interesting ways of depicting a subject. For your next painting, try a still life or a figurative piece that’s arranged well below or well above eye level. Create a cityscape from a high or low vantage point. There are many approaches that can be explored when we think re?ectively and assume a different perspective.

Try This At Home
Show us an example of a pastel painting in which you adopt a unique perspective. E-mail your image(s) (4×6-inch JPGs with a resolution of 72 dpi) and a description to by August 22, 2009. Type “Creative Spark” in the subject line and include your name, e-mail and mailing address. The “editors’ choice” will receive a set of Neopastel 24 ($55) and a set of Neopastel 48 ($110).


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