Lately, I’ve been experimenting with a more neutral palette. For this piece, I’m starting out with an underpainting of darker values. The next step will be to add minimal layers of soft color. Dead hostas have a beautiful tissue paper-like glow, and I’m hoping that working with the design elements, value and color, I’ll be able to create those delicate tones. More than anything, I love working with the abstract qualities of design and I have a particular affinity for the principle of rhythm. Of the eight design principles, rhythm is the maestro. You might notice the design elements in this piece— line, shape and size— repeat to create unity, harmony, contrast and dominance. You might also notice an undulating rhythm between sizes, shapes and lines in the piece. I use the principles of repetition, contrast, unity, harmony and dominance to create a rhythmic pattern to carry the eye through the picture plane. My subject matter tends to be the natural world, just as it is. It thrills me to see design principles are right there, uncontrived. I’m somewhat of a rebel in that I let compositions happen, rather than try to academically control them. When it comes to painting, I’ve never been one to follow the rules. Abstract design concepts are far too appealing!

On The Easel #1 © Kristine Fretheim | 30 x 22 Watercolor on Arches Natural White