The Artwork of
Kevin M. Haller
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Cliff Cave County Park (View location of my easel)
November 28--9am
"Barges, Morning"
Oil     11x14
Inspiration and Design: View subject
It was a pleasant late fall morning, and I was painting en plein air on a Mississippi River bank.  I was painting with the Missouri Plein Air Painters at Cliff Cave County Park in Saint Louis.  Up the river (north) from my vantage point, barges were parked along both banks.  The floating giants stirred significant visual interest.  Gulls were flying low over the water and were providing life in the scene.  I also noticed large windblown cottonwood leaves pressed up against the small bank vegetation.  They were catching strong light and were very visible in the landscape.  In the far distance, I could see the Jefferson Barracks ("JB") Bridge.  The scene had a minimal number of shapes: sky, water, near bank, far bank, bridge, and a grouping of barges.  The composition seemed a great fit for my current painting approach.  I identify the four or five large masses, and paint--and repaint--those masses (shape and color) until the piece is as meaningful of my subject as possible.  I do not proceed to the smaller shapes until this objective has been met.  The painting at this stage must capture my pleasure in the subject as no amount of detail will bring it out later.  I am also experimenting with a Cezanne technique of utilizing repeating shapes.  I noticed a repeat of an upright half-circle at the center of interest: the bridge and the barge caps.  I purposely repeated and exaggerated that shape throughout the painting.