Feb 1, 2018

Is there a bit of HOCUSPOCUS happening in YOUR Work? - Painting & Drawing Tips


Do you think of yourself as a Magician?
Are you Making Magic when you paint or draw?

CAUGHT IN THE LIGHT - $500 - 12 x 16, Matted to 16 x 20 inches

Many artists, like myself, like to sit and paint or draw. I have a lovely drawing table made by my husband many years ago.  It adjusts easily for different angles and heights.  It works great.

 My favourite thing is to work at my table: Max sleeping/playing beside me, little music going, sun shining in the window, drawing or painting.  Close, detailed, realistic kind of work. This works wonderful when I am working on a bird, a leaf, a flower.  The main subjects of my picture.  But when it comes to the foreground/background, it just doesn't work.

Backgrounds are this huge area to be filled.  They are not the subject so shouldn't be sharply focused, the eye should slide over them and head for the important stuff.  But don't you find the detailed stuff is your favourite part.  The loose, ambiguous stuff not so much fun. 

The Struggle Point . . 
There is no place in the background for your beloved detailed focused work.  This is Magic Land.  Everything is an Illusion.  Little lines, shadows, darks, lights are all engineered to 'suggest something' rather than 'be something'. Do you struggle here?  I do. I know I need to let go, get loose.  Hard for me to do. Learning to Wave my Wand is my Goal.

Waving Your Wand . . 
CAUGHT IN THE LIGHT is full of conjuring tricks. One night we were driving on a country road and a barn owl swooped down and was caught in the headlights.  It was a breathtaking moment - this big beautiful bird right in front of me.  It totally inspired me.  What if you were out walking in the evening and you suddenly picked out an owl in the light.  Wouldn't that be an amazing thing to see.  That's what I wanted to do with this picture. So what is the trick in that, you ask?

The Illusion . . 
Bushes in the half light - Caught in the Light detail #1
Take another look at the picture.  Yes, the Barn Owl is detailed and realistic but those background pieces - Illusions.  Note the detail #1 above: If you cover up those leaves in the right hand corner, the background is just patterns and shapes. 

Leaves and Branches in the Dark - Caught in the Light detail #2

See Detail #2: When you isolate these blobs they really don't look like anything.  But in context they are one of my favourite parts of this picture.

How does the magic work?

I am continually studying this phenomena.  It happens in different ways and is handled by Realists and Abstract  artists in many different ways: using colour, patterns, and shapes they lead our eye around and make you believe you see a rock, a leaf, a branch.  Often you pause and try to see more. This too is part of the illusion.  (BTW I used salt to make some of those unusual shapes in this picture.  You can see more on that here)

Is this your struggle too?  Are your backgrounds too detailed?  Have you found ways to move forward?

Next Post: 3 Steps to Put Magic in Your Art

AWESOME OPPORTUNITY: 2 Day Workshop with Dene Croft, SFCA - Friday, Feb 23 & Saturday, Feb 24, South Langley.   3 spots left - $160 Contact me to Register.

1 -Day Marketing Workshop for Artist - Let's Get Your Art Out There! with Wendy Mould, AFCA      Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018 10-3pm $84(Tax Incd)
Great Art needs Good Marketing to Move it out the Door
During the day you learn what the main focus of your marketing materials should be, see  effective ways to promote your work and find a path that is right for you.  It is a full day and the synergy generated from the experience will keep you on track for 2018. Turn your Art Making into a Business. Maximum 8 people so register early. 
I look forward to working with you.  
 REGISTER  Contact Wendy               Gift Certificates Available

Good Follow-Up Session to the Marketing Workshop: 
April 9 - Building Your Online Presence 6-8pm. Federation Gallery, Vancouver, BC. $20 nonmembers $15 members.

Looking for more Drawing Tips, check out these popular posts from the latest Drawing Series.  
How to Find Your Starting Point in a Drawing - here
4 Ways to Grow the Sketchbook Habit - here
Get Those Values Working for you - here

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 Have a great artful day,


Teesa Christie said...

Great article- I love detail too- so backgrounds are the hardest for me. Some great suggestions here.

Wendy Mould AFCA said...

Thanks Teesa, I knew I couldn’t be the only one that loved the detail. I have a few ideas to help with the background magic in my next post. I am sure they will give you something to think about.