Thursday, June 21, 2012

EVERYTHING POINTS TO THE FOCUS

Wild Willow    14x18     oil on linen panel
When we find something out there in nature that we want to paint, it isn't necessarily the case that everything points to the focus.  The first step is to identify what we will make the focus of our painting, the visual destination, the pay-off for the viewer.  In any given view there is usually a number of things that could be worthy of being the star of the show.

Once we select our star, we need to arrange the supporting cast, and the stage set and the spot light.  The chosen scene will have this type of material waiting to be utilized, but we'll need to design the whole thing.  One of the most helpful things I overheard from one of my teachers was "Everything points to the focus".  He was just dropping a comment in the flow of a critique he was giving of another students work.  He said it as if we all know and understand this, and apply it in our paintings.  I thought I understood the importance of having a focus in my painting, but what clicked for me was how the entire painting could be organized by the focus.  The more I paint, the more it seems to be about design.  The rest is the box of tools we use to get to the point.

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