Mitch Baird oil painting desert landscape

“As a creator of images there are so many opportunities to express visually. The epic moment, the spiritual connection to a subject, the quality of light, color, and even the everyday mundane. With every subject there comes a core communication that we must strive to share. It is often difficult to figure out what needs subordination to accentuate the important, especially when everything in front of you is scintillating and exciting. To help in this process I look to design principles to ease the burden and narrow my field of expression to exactly what I want.

I prefer to work from life when seeking inspiration and finding my ‘muse’. When working with the landscape I try to be on location as much as I can, because when facing nature directly, one has to really look for the visual essentials. As I seek out a scene, I am consciously aware of the impact of the physical elements, such as trees, rocks, water, etc. I try to find combinations that are intriguing and impactful. Once I find something of interest, I always ask myself first ‘what is the scene about or what was the first thing that drew me to it?’ It usually comes down to a design concept such as pattern, color, texture, shape, edges, atmosphere and rhythm. Within these concepts there are repetition, alternation, order, chaos, movement, stagnation, complexity, simplicity…etc., etc., etc. The options are endless and this is my ‘muse’ and what keeps me seeking fresh arrangements to create. They are the visual creator’s tools and the better we know how to use them the better we are able to share our vision with the world. So the next time you approach the canvas be aware of the impact of design and how you arrange the elements to express your vision. You will find that whether it is an vast panoramic or intimate setting the core communication of design will come through to the viewer. “

Learn how to design with Mitch Baird in his painting tutorial “Painting the Desert Light”