August 13, 2014

Painting #15 - Work with What You've Got

I love the story of John Singer Sargeant walking out into a field, dropping his painting gear, doing a 360, and finding something to paint from exactly where he was.

When plein air painting, it is possible to go out in search of the perfect scene and spend hours of painting time looking for that scene; whether driving or on foot, it burns up a lot of painting time.  I am endeavouring to look for paintings wherever I am, rather than searching endlessly for the perfect spot.  The idea of "finding infinity in a grain of sand" is one of seeing the beauty that is right in front of you.
Your job, as a painter, is to make the beauty you see into a good painting.  

Sometimes things to be moved around, amended or cropped - in fact, just about always, some editing of the visual information in front of you is necessary in order to make a good painting.  Design is the key thing....always find a way to make a strong design out of the elements in front of you.  Change the shape of a rock, move a tree over, whatever it takes.  Artistic license - we artists own the term.

In this painting, I moved things around considerably.  I liked the intimate setting, the gnarled little juniper and the reflected light in the shadows - but the shapes were problematic.  I struggled with the design here, but in the end I felt it worked.

Once again art imitates life - you have to arrange and work with the pieces in front of you in order to make something beautiful.

Happy painting.


1 comment:

  1. Nice post - Thank you! It is good not to be a slave to the scene, but to do whatever makes the moment of painting enjoyable, for painter and viewer - it shows as integrity, I think. Beautiful work!