Saturday, March 27, 2010

Artistic Pitfalls

There are many pitfalls along the way to becoming an accomplished artist and I am certain all artists are familiar with many of them.  One I want to discuss is the reliance on photographs to produce one's work.  As artists we must be so very careful not to duplicate the photograph.     
A photograph should be viewed as a tool to the production process....not as 'holy writ'.  It surely was not the inspiration, the 'something' that moved within you, that awakened the desire to paint a particular moment in time.
The attached artwork explains what happened to me when I relied on a photograph.  The sketch was done on the North Atlantic shore off Nova Scotia during a Nor'easter gale.  The sky was quickly darkening, the waves crashing and cresting three to four fee high and the surf rolling in in constant swirls.  I was so moved by the crashing darkness and surge of water.
Back in the studio I started painting using the sketch as source and everything seemed to be going well.  Then I looked at the photograph, I added this swell, this crashing high wave, more and more rolling surf, changed the colour........stood back and left the studio in disgust.  Ruined....that is not what I had in mind at all
Did some household chores and thought and thought about what the painting had lost.  Returning to the studio I picked up my largest brush, checked my palette and swiped colour in fast swabs across the canvas, obliterating all the detail; returning to the dark indigos.....and was satisfied I had captured the dark mood of the day and oncoming storm.
I now view photos as a provide some 'thing' I may have missed in my sketch and which may add to the picture I am developing.....or as in a sunset to capture that instant glow.
And I try to remember only the eye can discern the wonder and only the heart can feel the moment.....the first impression that made me say "Wow" I want to capture this forever more.

1 comment:

  1. I so love this painting. Love that dark foreboding sky and the deep blue of the sea. Have been out in a boat on just such a sea on such a day. You have caught the mood and the emotion. I agree that photogaphs are only an aid. Now my paintings are not great but some are better than others and the ones that are the worst are those where I relied not on what I felt but the picture I had taken.