Rules are made to be broken?

oil painting of the sea with cliff by Susan Wellington

Oil painting of a memory. 2010

Recently I’ve read this art instruction book called ‘Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting’ by John F. Carlson. It was recommended on Lori McNee’s art blog and I’m glad I ordered it.

Sometimes it’s great to go back to the beginning to inspire you again. There’s always something new to discover especially by someone who thinks differently to you. Of course he’s made everything into a rule. Such as all forms receding into the distance add blue to them. I’d forgotten I learnt all this stuff. Most of which I’d gotten rid of in my attempt to create something new. He wouldn’t think much of the sea painting above I guess because of the lack of clarity of form and space. That’s the point I was trying to make though. It’s not meant to be real life but more like a dream or essence of the sea.

He painted typical northern hemisphere forests which aren’t much evident in Australia and based his rules on what he saw. Now I’m in Sweden some of his tips are really handy I must say. Thankyou John. I noted he was born in Sweden then moved to the US and was based in Woodstock, New York.

It was first published in 1929 and it’s a classic.

When I’m painting or not, I have this overweening interest in humanity. Even if I’m not working, I’m analyzing people.

Alice Neel



  1. Thanks KL. There’s always a risk as sometimes it doesn’t work breaking all the rules. I’m glad you think it paid off.

    1. Thanks for your comment Dirty Butter. I hope to do that in the blog so that’s great. Your name’s very creative by the way.

  2. Thanks Anji that’s really nice. It’s actually I think a bit of a combination of the colours of Sweden and Australia. The colour of the sea is the Australia bit. You don’t get that colour in Sweden. And if it was really Australia it would be much brighter. I love Monet. Who doesn’t? He’s a constant inspiration to any landscape painter and any person who’s alive really. And even my cat I’m sure loves Monet!

    1. Thanks Anji. I spend ages tinkering about with wordpress templates and eventually decided on the same one after hours swapping templates like a crazywoman. And I just chose the header image spontaneously but it blends in well in the end. So I’m happy. Yes I read about the 2 Monet exhibitions on in Paris which would be great to go to.

I'd love to hear what you think.

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