California artist Carolyn Lord streamlines her watercolor landscapes to the bare essentials—light, depth, shape and color—to create beckoning backyard havens. This process of simplification inevitably involves considerable editing as she lets details and distractions fall away.
For example, in her garden paintings featuring bees, such as October Cosmos and Corm (below), she paints the insects as simple lozenge shapes, making no attempt to describe wings or other details. “Bee wings are like eyelashes in portraiture,” she says. “If they’re too small to see from 5 or 10 feet away, they’re too small to paint, especially since they don’t represent mass or form.”
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