Ellie Clemens: The first thing that draws me to this painting is the use of such muted colors. I love the brownish greens of the grass, the dull blues of the sky, the mood evoked by these colors. Then I put on my painterly hat and analyze what makes this work for me: First, the fact that most of the values are mid range with the bright spots of light in the umbrellas and the distant clouds. I am also fascinated that the central umbrella is just that - almost exactly in the center. I love the fact that the man in the foreground is the dullest, darkest spot in the painting. What audacity! I love the way the eye travels through the painting too - following those lights from the left hand side as they cross the canvas but fall short of completing the trip, leaving the eye to drop down to the figures under the far umbrella, and then to that log, thence to the backpack (which you hardly notice at first). In a way, the central figure is the least important of the figures in the painting; it's a hub around which the others turn, a quiet dark center, making the use of his central position and dark value even more fascinating.
So what does this say about what I value in art? The art of it all. The ability to take the viewer on a trip through a particular, closely defined world, a world that, even when it is a representation of a real world, becomes an imaginary world. I admire the skill of the artist in using color and tone, his ablilty to make a composition draw the viewer into the painting.