Monday, August 25, 2014

Art is Science

Photos burn out a lot of the color you can see in the shadows. I like to paint fruit because it's good practice for painting people. Pears, especially, even though they are green, and not the color we are used to seeing in human skin, are very individual in shape and color. On the surface this appears to be a fairly straightforward painting of two pears. BUT there is more to it than that. When I decide to paint objects I must make several decisions before I even begin.

1. What size canvas? Square doesn't work with everything but I like to use it for simple subjects.
2. Arrange the objects in an interesting manner. I was limited here by the number of object. The pears have stems and I moved them around until I liked the way they looked together. Almost like antennae. Relate the objects to each other so they seem natural.
3. How much of the background will show? Will the subjects be cut off on the edges of the canvas or contained inside it? Will I use a backdrop? In this instance I was lazy. The pears are sitting in front of my monitor. But the light colors really pop out against the dark values so that's OK with me.
4. Lighting. Warm or cool? Do I use a spotlight to create dramatic light and shadow patterns or natural room light?
5. Full palette or limited colors? Signed or unsigned? Where to sign?

As you can see, there are many decisions that have to be made before the first brushstroke hits the canvas. That's what makes every painting so individual. I can do the same painting tomorrow and it could look completely different, based on the pears rate of decay, the room lighting and my palette. Another artist can paint the same pears in the same light with the same colors and it will appear totally different than mine. I have seen that happen hundreds of time in classes I teach.

Then there is the title. When you paint as many pears as I do how can you come up with an original title for each one? Isn't it easier to call it Green Pears no. 17? Maybe, but I like to try anyway.

Inquisitive Pears
(sounds better than Pears with Antennae)

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