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I have been creating things since I was old enough to hold a pencil, a crayon or a needle. You may be surprised what you find here.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Painting from life

In the early days, when I first started painting again I was painting from photographs exclusively. I still do a lot of painting from photos, but have come to realize the value in trying to paint what you actually see.

One evening at a regular painting session with a friend, she decided that we needed to paint a still life. She had gone to the store and purchased fruit and carefully set up a still life for us to paint. The pitcher and plate were chosen for their ability to reflect light and she used additional lighting to create shadows on the scene.

Talk about scary! This was intimidating. She is an excellent artist and painting what I see before me eliminated all my little tricks. But what can you do when faced with a challenge? Your choices are to jump in and do it or run for the hills. The latter was not really an option, after all, what was the worst that was going to happen?
I might fail. Okay, what does failing look like? A painting that doesn't reflect what I see before me? Well it could be modern art-that isn't purely representational. I think it might be wasted time, paint and a canvas...but how can any of that be wasted if I learn something. Even if I paint something I wouldn't even show the dog, Ihave have gained some experience with using brushes and playing with how the paints go together.

I have yet to ever throw away a canvas, although I have a few I probably should, but each canvas, even the bad ones are part of the experience. Now I will admit to occasionally sanding one down and covering everything under it with Gesso so that I can use it again to paint something else (those are the ones I wouldn't show the dog, and I'll show almost anything I have painted to anyone who will look!).

The point is, don't agonize over the end result. It will work or it won't, but in the process you will get better and the next time you will come closer to your goal. Like they say on the sneaker commercial - just do it! And when your non artist friends and relatives tell you what's wrong with your painting just offer them a canvas and brush and encourage them to try for themselves. If nothing else, you might gain a painting companion.

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