Monday, July 4, 2011
Heart vs Fundamentals
Lupines at Dusk
Original oil painting 10x20"
by Susan Roux
Creating art can be a nagging series of conflicts. There exists a fine line between painting from the heart and adhering to the fundamentals. How much of one is too much? Painting from the heart is freeing and spontaneous. Letting go. The brush dips in color and impulse and the canvas dictate what color is next. You feel your creativity bubbling out of you and great joy is experienced in the process. If that's all you do, where do you end up?
Is there such a thing as having too much fun painting?
The fundamentals, those pesky rules, pull it all together. The values define shapes. Design and composition lead the eye. Sun and shadow patterns contribute to the illusion of reality. A wise man told me an artist is allowed only a small portion of fun to be visible per painting. Oh shucks, really?
Here is me painting from the heart. I was captivated by the lupines on Monhegan. I loved the way they danced in the sky. I photographed a lot of them, but the feeling of observing them could not be replicated in an image. I wanted to portray them at dusk. Those wonderful lupine shades were transformed during golden hour. How rich and warm the cool blue's, pink's and purple's became. I concentrated on capturing that. My photo references were poor suggestions, so imagination took over.
Once I finally captured the light I was after, I felt the painting was complete. Funny how if you toss in one crazy element you're unstable with, everything you're grounded on slips from memory. A well advised critique put it all back into perspective for me. Too much heart and not enough fundamentals. Form became sacrificed au lieu de couleur.
I returned to the painting, freed from focusing only on color and began to establish form. Somewhere between heart and fundamentals one can strike a balance that satisfies. Satisfies the viewer, satisfies the artist. After all, if the passage is not defined well enough, the viewer misses the message...