Wednesday, May 23, 2007

"Tea Closeup" --- SOLD

Looking at this again now, I don't think I got the proportions quite right. Heh heh. Oh well. What really drew me to this was the paper tag at the end of the tea string. I hope I captured the delicacy of it. That and the very subtle reflection of it in the cup. Every time I stepped away to look at the whole painting and then stepped back, the paper would flop around in the breeze I created. Luckily it always seemed to land back in the same position.

I think the biggest roadblock on our path to painting what we see is ... our brains. We aren't aware of it, but our brains filter out a TON of information all the time. If it didn't, we'd constantly be overwhelmed by life and probably spend our days in a fetal position in the corner. Our brains also piece together bits of information to make out things we know. So when we see an apple, it goes into the apple category in our brain and we start to paint it like every other apple. But every apple is unique, and not necessarily how you think. A green apple may not have a speck of "pure" green in it. So we've got to use tricks to get past our brain. Squinting is probably the easiest (my favorite). Then using a mirror to look at it backwards, or turning your painting upside down. I'd love to hear more. Please comment if you have a different trick that you'd like to share. Thanks.


Michael Naples said...

I'm a fan of the mirror trick. Use it evey time. Stunning composition on this one. It really grabbed me when I first saw it.

Andrew Neagle said...

I like to stand as far away as possible and turn my head upside down, or I'll stand on the right hand side of the painting and look out the corner of my eye, or I'll get my seven year old daughter to give me the thumbs up or the confused look and 'what is it Dad??'
Andrew Neagle

Debbie Miller said...

Today I made iced tea and wondered if you'ld be painting your teacup again :)...I squint...but have to remind my self. Sometimes taking a short brake walking around the house or refilling my coffee then standing back...always ask my boys and I really get a kick out of how acurate they are! Sometimes Ive done some good things while talking on the phone...seems to distract me enough to not get all 'its supposed to look like this'...kinda takes the brain out of it. This works for unloading the dishwasher too :)

Amy Stewart said...

I paint from photos more often than I paint from life, just because I'm usually painting in class and photos are more portable--but one real advantage is that it is so easy to turn the photo upside down! I don't even dare try a face or a figure without using this trick.

Karen Appleton said...

Finding color where it should not be is the most fun thing about painting for me. My brain is very cooperative (must be very small) and I just try to see color like a jigsaw puzzle. One spot of color next to another, compare the spots and how they fit together. I think comparing like this is extremely helpful. Love, Love, Love your work by the way. I think you've got all the tricks you need! Karen

Elizabeth A Patterson said...

I had a teacher MANY years ago who would always say, "Draw what you see, not what you think you see." It is one of those simple, profound lines (for an artist, anyway) that stay in your head for the rest of your life! Just having that thought in there has helped me immensely. Of course, the flip side of that is, when I want or need to draw or paint something completely from my imagination, I feel kind of lost.
Your work is wonderful! Simple elegance! LizP (a newcomer here... Hello!)

TK said...

If using a photo I sometimes flip it and of course turn the painting upside down too and then paint for awhile with it like that; it's a good way for me to break out into just seeing shape and color. I know about the mirror trick and need to do more of it, also getting away to fix dinner or walk the dog helps, but one of my biggest wake ups is taking a digital of the work anywhere in the process: in progress or "finished" even, and putting it in Photoshop; somehow that makes me suddenly "see" everything that is "wrong" or isn't working. If I'm stuck, that always shakes me loose. I don't know if it's because I do so much work with images in PS or what, but I see stuff right away that I couldn't see with the painting right in front of me! Then I can spray a little color around to see if I like it before I do it for real in oil. I can adjust values too. Maybe it's because I've changed the way the light works; gone from the reflective (subtractive) color of how paint works to "light" color, the color type of the monitor. I'd imagine any photo editor would do the same basic thing. You can also flip the image into reverse like a mirror. Of course squinting if working from life is the best trick! :D

Thanks for your honest blog and observations on your lovely work!
Best wishes,
TK Temple