Monday, January 23

Really See What You're Looking At

I Had to See to Render This Small
 4x6 in (10x15 cm ) Acrylic
There’s the old saying in art that you must first learn to see before you can draw or paint or sculpt. Many don’t understand what that means.

It means exactly what it says; that is, rather than rendering what your mind sees, or thinks it sees, you must learn to see with your eyes exactly what you are looking at.

That means you must concentrate, which I know is difficult for many artists and painters who  want to immediately begin creating as soon as pencil, paintbrush, or pastel stick is in hand. If you can’t make yourself concentrate, then at least slow down and take a few minutes to really look at your subject or motif.

That means:

Understanding the lighting—which direction is it coming from; is it natural or artificial; is it cool or warm?

Understanding the shadows, which are often as important as the lighting--are they soft or hard; which direction do they come from, what color(s) are they?

Seeing colors--what are the predominant colors; can you find any color triads; are there natural complementary colors?

Looking at the details—curl up your fingers and make your hand a spyglass to your eye as you look at your subject in order to isolate certain details; you’ll be surprised at how many details you can now see that could be important.

Using your other senses—what are the atmospheric conditions (if outdoors); in any setting, what is the prevailing ambience—bright or dim, clear or hazy, cheerful or forboding, hurried or slow-paced—this will help you create a mood.

Don’t forget, your mind, including all your memories and assumptions and prejudices, will play tricks on your art by blinding or at least hindering your ability to actually see what is before you.

Keep On Painting

1 comment:

  1. These are fantastic tips (of which I need to be reminded of a lot when painting!). Thank you for this. :)