|Girls playing on rocks, of course.........but do you feel the sunlight, the warmth, their intense concentration?|
So many artists -and not all of them beginners - have a fascination with equipment and materials. I have been approached so many times when demonstrating and asked what I was using....as if having those items will ensure the production of a similar image. Of course, what you use and how you use your equipment is part of the process..........but it is nowhere near as important as what inspires you. It is NOT the materials which make a good painting, or good painter...it is what is going on in your mind and in your heart. That particular brush, or pastel stick, will make no difference.
I recently "critiqued" an artist's work - she had painted a landscape, half of which was a large area of grey tarmac. The road began at the bottom of the work, and curved into the picture, disappearing behind a central clump of trees.........one of three clumps - one at the left border, one in the middle of the pic, and one at the right border.
She had picked up a photo and copied it. yes, I know, I bang on about this...........but when I asked her what had "inspired" her about this particular scene, it stopped her in her tracks. the answer is, of course, that she had not really been "inspired" at all. the photo just looked easy enough to tackle. The result was a picture of a road. It was somewhat peaceful, because the road was empty, after all............but all I could think of was that it was the kind of road that big lorries and trucks would use, and any minute now the peace would be shattered by a large, smelly, noisy truck roaring along. The composition was poor - the placement of those three clumps of trees was yawn-making, the sky was dull. IF THE SUBJECT IS DULL YOUR PAINTING WILL BE DULL.
|nice shapes, pretty colours on the flowers...........flat, uninspiring light|
The difference between the taking of a photo - ie capturing a particular picture-postcard "view", and being inspired by the subject as having potential for a painting, is how the scene makes you feel. For me, I need that little frisson of excitement I feel when I suddenly get a sense of the scene's potential - and it is often the quality of light in the scene that does it for me. I want to create a painting that shows not just the way the scene looked, but if possible, even the way it felt to be there too.
|Aha - gorgeous light on the petals, interesting shadows and depths.....I can feel my inspiration bubbling to the surface!|