I pointed out to him some of the reasons why I felt that the painting had perhaps not been as successful as others he had done. I explained why I felt that the composition of the painting was rather weakened by certain elements, - most of my reasons were based on the "geometry" underlying the image.
This clearly did not go down very well. The response I received was "well, that is far too complicated , I cannot see myself ever thinking about echoes, horizontals, diagonals and stuff like that".
A classic bit of inflexible thinking. While I can understand that some concepts are tricky to comprehend, and perhaps "see" at first glance, nevertheless surely it is worth trying rather than dismissing the whole idea instantly?
I do get it that people like to paint something that excites them. It is the subject-matter that hits their conscious mind, first and foremost. But there are times when what appears to be super subject-matter, turns into a rather boring painting. And then, it is necessary to search for reasons why.
I personally believe that often, the reason why that painting disappoints is because many of the underlying important elements of "what makes a painting work" have been ignored, misunderstood, or simply overlooked.
Painting isn't just about accurately portraying a glorious sunset....or a cute-looking dog ....or an interesting building.
Painting is about all of those things, PLUS loads of other things......amongst them things like this:
- Pattern - the arrangement of light and dark shapes within your rectangle
- Directing the eye - the path of the viewer's eye, which depends upon visual connections
- The Focal Area - a centre of interest
- Colour - creating colour relationships, using colour theory concepts
- Design - the basics of an attractive "layout" for your image
- Shapes and Edges - thinking about how to create rhythm, balance, emphasis where needed
- Key - thinking about the mood you want to create, and how this can be achieved
OK I will get off my soapbox now.
Here are some images which were painted by a favourite artist of mine - Tony Allain. His work always stops ME in my tracks. And the reason it does, is nothing to do with the subject matter. I love the energy of these images, the confidence of the big shapes, the dynamism, the surprising, exciting colour. I wish I could be half so bold and brave. If you like these, do take a look at more of his works.