Friday, September 16

Paint Enthusiastically!

Sandy Beach
Acrylic on Watercolor Paper
12 x 6 in/ 30.5 x 15.2 cm
Copyright Byrne Smith 2016
I added an exclamation point to the headline of today's blog because that's what being enthusiastic should be about for painters--make them exclaim and be excited.

Look at it this way, if you're not enthused by what you're painting, certainly no one else will be either.

How does a painter paint enthusiastically?

I can only tell you how I do it. I aim to put myself right there in the moment of the scene I'm painting. That doesn't mean I actually paint myself into the scene; that is, I don't paint a person who looks like me onto the canvas or paper. No.

But it does mean I mentally imagine myself in the actual ambiance or action or stillness of the moment. I like to think I can look around or walk around in the scene and make observations about light and value and color.

Doing that makes me want to paint to my very best ability, and that's how you paint enthusiastically!


Thursday, September 8

Great Painters Paint Great Edges

The Cove
Acrylic on Arches Paper
20 x 16 in/50.8 x 40.6 cm
Copyright Byrne Smith 2016
The headline of today's post says it all. Great painters paint great edges.

What is a great edge? Well, it's not just one edge in a painting. It's all the edges in the composition and how they relate not only to each other but also to the motif in total.

Edges can move the viewer around and through a painting.

Edges can emphasize or de-emphasize an element as well as the focal point.

Edges can help set the mood of a painting.

Edges attract attention (or not).

Edges are important.

Which painters paint great edges, in my humble opinion? Claude Monet, John Singer Sargent, Edward Hopper, Qiang Huang, Mark Boedges, Colley Whisson, Colin Page, Mary Whyte, and Hsin-Yoa Tseng, just to name a few.

Great painters paint great edges.


Friday, September 2

Only Paint What You Really, Really Like

Lapping at the Shore
Acrylic on Watercolor Paper
6 x 12 in/15.2 x 30.5 cm
Copyright Byrne Smith 2016
Like riding that proverbial bicycle, one never forgets how.

As I mentioned last blog, after a four-month hiatus from painting in which I repaired my home and studio after flooding in our area, I feel relief that I was pretty much able to get back up on that "bike" and pick up where I left off.

Pick up, that is, with a new understanding of how and what I will and will NOT spend my artistic time on. I discovered something during my hiatus--paint only those subjects you really, really like and only in the style and medium you really, really like. This is key.

Painting anything else is a fool's errand and will only make you really, really unhappy.