Wednesday, 26 February 2014

YOU are in charge!

Once again apologies for absence, I am dealing with a few family stresses.

However, I will just make a brief comment here while I have five minutes spare between appointments. Am working on an iPad so no ability to add pics sorry!

I was recently told off because I commented, on an art forum, about the ghastly frock painted by someone at a life class.  The artist in question admitted that the model had been given an old costume dress to wear which was really ugly. While the portrait was good...and I said as much...the dress took all the attention, being bright red and truly awful with huge bones down the front, bearing no relationship to a woman's shape.

My comments about the dress were taken by some to be too "harsh" yet the critics ignored my praise for the portrait face!  Luckily I was not the recipient of these complaints which were made secretly...but they were passed on to me.

One comment made was that perhaps the artist was disabled, could therefore not move position and was forced to paint a full frontal view even if the dress was ghastly.  While I take the point about some artists being disabled....this is not the issue at all. And brings me to the point of this story.

 Even if you cannot change your position, you always have a choice about what to paint.

Is there a filthy old dustbin in your scene?  Leave it out.  Too many similar spaces between a row of trees making them look like a line of soldiers?  Adjust the distances.  Model wearing an ugly dress? Zom in and paint a portrait, stopping at the neck!  I could go on and on with examples.....the point is you are an artist, not a camera, and you have a choice about what you paint the tones, the colours, the subject ...they are all yours to command.


  1. That is curious. If the comments were shared secretly, why would anyone share them with you at all? That's not a very kind thing for that person to have done. It's rather like someone telling you something mean someone else said about you. What purpose does it serve but to stir up drama and/or create hurt feelings between yourself and the other person? I'm sorry this happened. I hope you can set it aside and continue to be honest in what you say in response to other people's work.

  2. I agree with you on this Jackie, if it's ugly or ungainly don't paint it, unless of course that was what appealed to you in the first place

  3. Right! Something we tend to forget.

  4. Well, or change the color of the dress! Sheesh, people will pick pick pick at every little thing you say, and throwing in "maybe the artist was disabled" is so ridiculously over the top. You are absolutely right, and your comments will hopefully help that good artist realize that he/she has the ability to paint what he/she wants to see instead of being a literalist and ruining a good painting.


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