You can sense as it is evolving, ‘This is gonna be good!”
Stacked Up by Marsh Gegerson. 20×28″ Watercolor, 2019
“If you are not skillful enough to sketch a man jumping out of a window in the time it takes him to fall from the fourth story to the ground, you will never be able to produce great works.” ~ Eugène Delacroix
What then? Is art all skill? Do you need to draw well in order to paint well? Can a person grow in both at the same time? Surely!
I have to admit that I am not the best at drawing. I have to recheck my proportions. However, in the classroom, I can instantly spot disproportion in my students’ work. My artist friend, Patti Duresky, is a natural with a pencil. She gets proportion right every time.
As for me, my paintbrush is my hand.
As far as my bests, I have had many good paintings. This implies lots of time painting. Perhaps, years. What I need for you to understand is that I am constantly seeing growth in my work. This should be your goal too!
Good art doesn’t arrive on your doorstep. Your art evolves.
What I loved about the work yesterday, seems lacking a year later. That means I grew! One application is to examine how we have used the art elements and principles to develop the subject.
- Are my proportions more accurate?
- Do I use a variety of color values?
- Does my composition invite you in?
This means, you need to know what the art is about and use visual symbols and images to convey your meaning.
Is my visual message clear?
Ask what art elements would express the essence of my subject? No! Please do not use all seven in one art work! That is confusing! Adapt the elements to the meaning.
For instance, if the work is about wind and storm, what lines express the essence of rain? Diagonal straight lines are symbols for rain combined with swirly thick and thin lines to show wind. What colors can represent a stormy day? Red? Yellow? Or dark blues, violets and browns? Will there be people in the work? Think about their posture in wind. By now, you have some idea on how to proceed. It is time for the brush to meet the paper.
For example, I like to start with the background washes of the colors mentioned, except I apply them in toned down values. This will set the painting’s mood.
Don’t be discouraged. This takes practice.
Set a goal to paint a little every day. Peruse paintings of the great artists and ask yourself questions about what elements. composition and tricks they used. Meanwhile, study up on the art movements so you are familiar with their goals and do not prejudge their work as elemental. Make note of the fact that every image you see imprints itself in your visual brain and eventually assimilates into a method. Your method.
Subsequently, these choices become automatic as you grow your sense of good art. Consciously thinking about how to use the basics interrupts the flow of the creative response. Therefore, you need to always remain in the ‘essence’ of the painting and remind yourself why you are painting this subject! Bring back the feeling of it. Now paint the feeling.
Kandinsky, the silent musician.
Notably, Kandinsky used bold, primary colors and a language of lines and shapes to express the music he was listening to or the landscape he was studying.
Wait a minute! You absorb images that you see. That is why it is important to study the master painters art, over the ages.
The brain is a remarkable organ that never forgets images you look at. This is called Quantum Neuroscience. Kandinsky’s art will implant in your visual cortex and will now add to your symbolic vocabulary. Just as a literary vocabulary list gives you tools to write about, stored visual images give you tools to create!
- Begin to build stored images of the type of art you love.
- Collect them in a file on your computer
- Refer to the images when you are dry and have artists block
- Write a paragraph on what you like about the image. Color? Subject? What don’t you like.
- Learn how to analyze a painting. Check Google on how to do this.
Most of all, relax and keep painting. Enjoy the process. Focus on it and let the rest of the world melt away as you create.