Thursday, February 25, 2010

I didn't mean to...

I lied.

I don't usually, but last night I did. I started this painting with my wonderful Wednesday night ladies. Just before leaving, one chuckled that I would continue working my sky and present a very different look next week. I immediately told her, "No. I never touch a class painting outside of class."

Sorry Tricia, I lied.

In the overly-used words of my son, "I didn't mean to..."

Really, I didn't. Its just this morning the colors were not at all what I remembered from last night. There's a very fine line between softness and no contrast. While attempting to soften my punched colors, I ended up by washing it all out! I really needed to correct it while the paint was wet.

Otherwise, I would have saved my corrections as part of our next lesson...

Unfortunately the camera lies too. Much more than I do, actually. The image posted reflects none of the soft transitions between colors. Isn't that a maddening thing for all artists? We work so hard to adjust every value, every color, every stroke, to capture what's in our hearts. A constant battle to project ourselves on canvas... And from reading many of your posts, it is a battle indeed. (But a battle we sure do love!)

All of this passionate energy, poured out, ends up at the mercy of the camera. Do you know of an artist who was ever pleased with their images? I don't. But there is a very encouraging "nice side" to this dilemma.

There will never be a reproduction that surpasses the actual work.

Our originals will always be in sole possession of that "magic" we captured. All that feeling. All those subtle nuances. All those juicy brushstrokes and thick paint you could lick like frosting. No camera will ever be capable of capturing it all.

And that life. That wonderful "life of its own" an original painting has. The way it reflects light and changes as you walk by it or as the darkness falls upon it. Its not only Thomas Kincade's paintings that change with low light, as he would have the public believing. We all know it affects every work.

So be proud of your accomplishments. Your original works. Nothing will ever compare to the greatness you captured while toiling in front of your easel!


  1. Susan your post making mention of capturing the magic and "thick paint you could lick like frosting" reminds me of something I read of Van Gogh. A fellow painter chided Vincent for being wasteful by applying his paint so thickly.

    Vincent's reply was that in 100 years when someone viewed his work he wanted the colors to look as vibrant as they did that very day.

  2. Nothing compares to when you see a painting that you have studied, (book, internet or otherwise...) in person, and it takes your breath away. Enjoying your blog!

  3. Susan, Do you know about Adobe LightRoom 2 ? I've invested a lot of time and money in Photoshop CS3 but Lightroom is the best I know of to develop your digital photos.

  4. Beautiful sky Susan,we ARE always striving for perfection,it is a battle lol but a nice one x
    Loving your blog ...........

  5. Heureusement que les photos sont moins jolies que nos peintures autrement les gens n'ach├Ęteraient plus que les photos !!!
    Beau travail Susan. Je veux bien devenir oiseau... Bises


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