How to ignore the details and why painting for short periods is best



Hi Folks,

Now that you are getting back in the groove one of the more common problems I find students are having is fixating on detail.  I know it is easier said than done to try and not see all those itsy bitsy branches or all those little flowers but try you must.  One way to over come seeing all that detail is to squint.  You want to blur your vision so you see only blocks of colours and shapes.   Then paint those block areas.  The Rule of three  i.e. three brush strokes and stop,  will also help.  Another way is to turn your photo up side down and paint that way.  You will be amazed how this takes your mind set out of seeing what it is exactly what you are painting.  I have a few students who start their painting this way all the time.  Another way is to take a blank piece of paper to cover your photo leaving open only a small area you want to focus on.  Once you have blocked in your painting you go back and start putting in more and tonal values and some ( and I mean a few ) subtle details.

lately I heard a few students commenting on the lengthy time they were spending painting at home.  I was amazed how they would spend 5 – 6 hours  a day, each and every day painting.  Painting while not a major physical activity does require some strength as well as intense constant thinking about colour, composition and  design.   I find I can only maintain my focus for 1.5  – 2 hours at a time.  After that I find I am exhausted and can not concentrate or focus clearly on what I am doing.   I think if you can spend a good 1.5  – 2 hours every day or every other day,  you will find you are more productive.  After that I think you tend to make too many mistakes and all that extra time is spent correcting them.   So don’t feel guilty about not painting for hours and hours.  I think those short bursts of intense concentration and painting will produce better results in the end.  You want your picture to look fresh and not over worked.

Happy Painting



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