Monday, April 19, 2010

What is painting? Rendering whats there or changing things?

This is a tough question, one that I have debated over in my head so I would appreciate your ideas on this matter. I think there is so much beauty out there in the landscape or figure, so why change anything? Just capture what is there. On the other hand, What nature has to offer often doesn't yield it best result. I like Paul Strisik book written in the late 90's where he was painting a river but the tail end was boring. He creatively took it down, swung it to the right and had a beautiful design. At times, nature give beauty and pristene, harmonious landscapes but other times we must be creative. I know various excellent painters who came up with beautiful paintings and didn't approach what was in front of them. I think the artist needs to have in mind an image of the painting before they ever start. If there are design problems, fix them immediately, don't say I will get to that latter, let me paint the things that work. That is not to say you can't paint in one location to do a foreground, then move over thirty feet to do a background but have that in mind at the outset and save yourself some torment. Basically, my best advice is use what is in front of you as a starter but don't be locked into rendering exactly what is there. Be creative and move, add or subtract elements to arrive at a good composition. The Napa Barn painting above illustrates this well. The barn and vines were there but the foreground was not interesting, big bushes with tiny flowers. I did away with them and put in some big irises I saw at the next house door and had a better painting, opening things up and adding interest-a way for the viewer to enter the painting. Be flexible, use what is there for inspiration but change things as needed.

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