Wandering through the painting… If the image pulls you in, what do you see next?

"The Path by Trees Through the Town", 18" x 24", Acrylic, Karen Gillis Taylor, 2014

“The Path by Trees Through the Town”, 18″ x 24″, Acrylic, Karen Gillis Taylor, 2014, working title, click for larger view

This painting has an unusual composition. It breaks the rules, and that is one reason I both like it and found it a challenge to make.

Where is the focal point? Please tell me where your eye goes at first glance, I’d be interested to hear people’s comments. I don’t think it’s immediately obvious to me. In fact, not at all! comments please on this…

One thing I like about making city paintings is that I feel like I am a traveler walking around in this place as I paint. Some people have told me they also feel like they can wander around in the painting, and want to see what is behind the next building or path.

It is not enough to see a painting for the first time and then say, okay, that’s nice, I am done looking. It is not enough for the viewer, and it is absolutely not enough for me, the painter! Every spot in my painting must hold its own, be important to the whole effect, keep me thinking it is a special place on its own as well. That might mean it’s a little window all lit up, or a distant horizon, or sky, that is more mysterious to the whole.

I like the feeling of mystery in a painting. It seems to suggest there is a story here, about this place.

I have not yet given this painting a final title for the art show in April. Does this painting need a village name, I ask my self? So many decisions before the show coming soon. I’d welcome your advice! Anyone?

Thanks for reading,



It is 12 days before my art show opening at Osmosis Gallery. I have done many art shows before, why the heck am I so nervous about this one? Time to take stock and get a grip on this. Any advice, dear friends out there?


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16 Responses to “Wandering through the painting… If the image pulls you in, what do you see next?”

  1. nsturgill Says:

    The walkway to the house….then following the pine trees to the golden glow behind and the tree with the multi colored leaves.. Just love your color palette!


    • karen Says:

      I was inclined to think the walkway to the house might be a contender, although it’s unusual to place a focal point so far from center…thanks for your answer!


  2. nannus Says:

    My eyes first went to the large tree in the foreground, then to the bright square up on the left.


  3. Nancy Says:

    Lovely painting. It reminds me of walking through a park in downtown in New York or Philly. I showed it to my hubby, and we both agree that our eyes go to the golden yellow square of the building in the center of the painting. How exciting for you as your show approaches!


  4. Terri Says:

    Love this painting! For me, the focal point is the little blue tree standing alone in the foreground.


  5. Elaine Atwood Says:

    my eye goes immediately to the pale yellow just slightly left of centre


  6. Brenda Osborne Says:

    pale yellow ……..area . I do love your city paintings. I bought your calendar a couple of years ago. ? I really would love to have another. I think you make the cities feel cozy and warm….and exciting at the same time. I feel like a child ready to explore with a sense of wonder. I love the colors and the contrast on this one.
    Thanks for sharing your art.


  7. Caroline Jobe Says:

    the trees first and of course the riot of my fave colours. and then when you mentioned that it was not following the usual rules i realized that was the reason my eye was roaming all over rather than settling in one area.


    • karen Says:

      Well, Caroline, I finally named this one “Through the Town,” (short titles are okay by me), because the painting is not just a cityscape, but about moving throughout the various suggested pathways with trees planted along an imaginary walkway or two as well. This painting has really grown on me. I’m sure all your responses have had a lot to do with that! Thank you! I believe it’s okay to break the “design rules” now and then for good reasons. Like Jack Sparrow said in Pirates of the Caribbean, “they are really just guidelines anyway!” Cheers!


  8. magicinthewoods Says:

    I love this one! I feel that the organic matter is “challenging” the concrete slabs. The thin slit between the buildings drew my eyes right away. Good luck on the show!


    • karen Says:

      Thanks for your thoughts, magic. I like to create that “thin slit” that suggests there is something way beyond.
      The show is coming so soon, your good wishes are very appreciated!


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