Saturday, February 12, 2011
Paint the poetry
Original oil painting 24x18"
by Susan Roux
I've had the pleasure of interacting at length with some of you lately via email. I have to tell you how fun and helpful it has been for me. I hope you feel the same way.
Have you ever noticed when you try to explain something about your process to someone, it helps you improve? We already know what we're doing (well at least most of the time) but putting it into words helps bring every aspect of our process to the forefront.
While talking to another I spoke of attempting to paint the poetry. My dictionary describes poetry as a special intensity given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm. I like these words. Special intensity, style, rhythm, the expression of feelings. Nowhere in this is anything about details or precise representation. The focus is on feeling, style and rhythm.
Doesn't that just put a whole new spin on everything?
All these years I've been trying to paint the elements in my composition and it turns out that wasn't the challenge after all. Paint a unified feeling on your canvas. Think of ambiance. You know, like that nice candlelit table setting you'll be preparing for your sweetheart on Valentine's Day. You'd pay attention to every detail so the whole entity, including tablecloth, candlesticks, dishes, flowers and vase would support an unmistakable feeling of romance. Yes the wine and dinner are probably your focal point, but everything about the table supports this feeling of love.
And so it must be with art...
I thought I finished Garden Stroll the other day. I knew she wasn't as strong as my other girls in this series. I placed her in a garden and trying to interpret this new style in a landscape was challenging. I had put her aside, but was left a bit dissatisfied. After talking to an artist about how I take a long time tweaking my paintings with the idea of painting the poetry in mind, I looked at her and realized I stopped short of what I wanted to capture. Does this happen to you?
You set a painting aside and next thing you know, it calls you back.
I couldn't ignore her. She was really urging me to continue. I'm glad I put her back on my easel. I'm much happier with the results. I may not be capturing the whole poetry thing, but I think I'm on the right track by having it in mind.
Do you ever paint the poetry?