Mar 10, 2016

Stand Back!! - Painting Tips


I like to golf.  The season is just getting underway for me so golfing is on my mind.  What does that have to do with painting you might add, but it does.  When you start your golf game, you pull out the big guys, "Big Bertha" is often what that big driver is nicknamed.  You give it a wack and start walking.  Your on your way.  Yes, you do change clubs a bit but working down from the big woods, slowly getting down to the irons as you get closer to the hole.

Very much like painting a picture.  The big brushes come out and you are painting, everything is big, loose and moving well.  Then you get 'close to the hole', down to detail.  That is where the problems start.  In golfing you can get to the green in 2 or 3 shots, even on a long hole. But what happens on the greens can really rack up the strokes.  I find the most pesky shots are those 4-8 foot putts.  Close enough that they should almost be a 'giv-me' but of course they aren't!!  You move in, grab the putter, line up and putt.  Sorry to say, it often doesn't go in.  It dribbles a little to the right or maybe a little to the left. The big problem is, it does not go in.

Sunshine and Sunflowers - 12 x 16, Watercolour

A lot like painting your picture.  You finish all the big stuff and move in for the little touch of detail, the crowning touches.  You pick up that tiny brush, paint a spot here, add a touch there, darken a bit. Wait, it just doesn't hit the mark. You dab a bit more, wipe a bit.  Oh no!  Now things are getting worse. Need to fix it here, add more there . . .   You know what I mean.  You have been there.

In golfing there is only one answer: Stop. Step back. Look at the lay of the land.  That little step has saved me many strokes.  When I step back I often see a little rise or fall of the green that I could not see when I was standing over it.  Also, it gives me a chance to regroup and re-frame my stance. Having the correct stance is soooooo important when putting.  (I wish I could say all my putts go in after that but they don't!!)

Painting that detail is just like putting.  Put that dab on, add that touch, then step back. See the picture as a whole, rather than up close.  Things will look different. Your judgement will be quite different.   Here are a few examples from my painting Sunshine and Sunflowers where I definitely saw my judgement change when I stepped back.

Painting the shadow colours on yellow proved to be very challenging.  I had planned to use my purple mixed from my blue and red colour. But when I painted that petal hanging off the right side of the flower I wasn't sure.
Detail from Painting - By itself the yellow looked dirty and the shadow too dark.  It wasn't! After stepping back I realized I had to darken it.

The same kind of thing happened when I painted the little petal hanging at the back of the flower.  By itself it looked so dark when I added the shadow.  I was already to start lifting and changing when I remembered the "stand back" rule.  When I stepped back things were very different.
Detail from Painting - I thought for sure this looked too dark! Not!  I needed to glaze over it again.

Here was a big one.  My little chickadee was all painted but the shadow not on him yet.  I knew he needed that shadow but purple seemed just tooooo much.  I finally took my brush and went for it.
Detail from Painting - The purple looked so purple but it was needed to gray the colours down and put this little guy in the shade!

In the heat of the moment it is often hard to keep cool.  But when the urge to fiddle hits you, remember 'stand back', regroup, look at the whole picture.  If it doesn't help you in painting, it  will certainly help your golf game!!

Special Note: I will be giving a demo at Opus and Framing Store, Langley, BC, Saturday, Mach 26, 10:30-12:30pm.  "Combining Your Photo References to "Get it Right".  This hands on demo will give you lots to think about.  Demo is free but you much pre-register at 604-533-0601.   More information here
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Have a great artful day, Wendy


Brenda Hill CDM said...

Great painting Wendy, the chickadee's are so life like they always sound like their saying cheese burger

Wendy Mould AFCA said...

Thanks, I really like those little guys. They provide lots of excitment and entertainment in our garden.

Lyla Drayson said...

Loved the golf analogies! I like to golf too and everything you said makes so much sense. Thanks for a great article.

Wendy Mould AFCA said...

I am glad you found it helpful. It really helps in golfing and I know it helps in painting too.