Why the “why” of a painting matters by Re' St. Peter
One of the topics that we spend quite a bit of time on in my “Finding an Approach” class is: Why?
Specifically, why do you want to tell *this* story? What is it about this photo or subject that says “paint me?” Is it the light, or the colors, or something more subtle: a mood, a memory, an appealing shape? Perhaps you just want to capture the cheerful flowers in a market stall, or the patina of a weathered wall.
Spending a few minutes determining the “why” of a subject will be tremendously helpful in creating a successful painting. As you can see from my example, the first time I tackled this subject I said “Oh, I love this photo, I’m going to paint it.” And that’s basically what I did – painted the photo. It’s a nice painting, but not terribly engaging, and I knew there was more in the image than what I’d captured.
The second time around, I spent some time asking myself what I really wanted to convey. What I loved about the scene was the relationship between the girl and the goat. Secondary to that was the girl’s posture and the simple beauty of her white clothing. By changing the orientation of the painting and dropping out most of the surroundings, “Love-A-Fair” becomes an image that tells a story, and gets people talking about their own 4H memories.
Re' St. Peter
Don't miss out on Ré St. Peter’s workshop FINDING AN APPROACH on Sat 07/21 10-2pm $85
When working from reference photos, it's easy to simply copy what we see. In this class, we'll define the "why" of what draws us to paint a scene or subject. From there, we'll explore ways to turn our reference into a compelling painting that tells the viewer a story.
Suitable for artists of any medium.
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