to come olf as well as the artist had anticipated. This may be so because at the time of the initial visualization there is a minimum of thought about the thousand and one things that usually happen once the execution has begun. While lie concentrates 011 true values, on color or form, somewhere down the line, some of the effects an artist may have hoped for will have been lost. His first look at the scene he wants to paint reveals unity and beauty, with all things as they should be. The execution is simply a statement of ability and comprehension. One process is completely visual, the other completely technical. No man's technical ability can ever quite reach the whole truth, even as he as an individual may see it.
We must also realize that in our iirst appraisal of a scene we usually look at the whole and are moved by it. Then later, after our work starts, we may notice the little things we overlooked and gradually, by concentrating on these increasingly bothersome details, lose sight of our original impression, the important impression that made us select the subject in the first place. Therein lies the danger of missing the boat. The hand can become heavy and exhilaration turn to increasing disappointment and at times frustration. There is only one antidote. Take a rest and try again. See if you can remember where it was you began to go wrong, at what point you lost the first impression. See if you can leave out every thing that interfered with your first great sweep of vision. Eliminate all but what you think must be in the picture to make it dramatic and intelligible. If your subject was a building, you might not have noticed at iirst just how many little windows there were. To avoid a busy or crowded look, you might paint these windows, or some of them, very close in value to the main value of the building itself. Or if your scene encompassed a large area of water, you might improve it the second time by eliminating many of the little wavelets and by concentrating on the larger pat terns. In figure studies, hands are often troublesome, and while you certainly can't eliminate them, you can sometimes simplify the problem by suggesting fingers in an impressionistic manner, or painting a hand with the fingers closed. Look over your subject for the many little things that you can eliminate to bring you back to a larger, simpler composition.
Our power of analysis can only come by degrees. It cannot develop from rule and formula alone. This may be helpful, but it is really intelligence dictated by taste and experience that helps us most. We can study for a while with a teacher, but in actual fact there is not a teacher in the world that is not limited to his own viewpoint and ability. Art is stressed in schools today, and there are many special art schools and summer classes for amateurs and budding professionals. But the question is: How much creativeness can be taught? This is something that is either inborn or developed by the unflagging interest, study, and hard work of the individual himself.
Resides cutting down the amount of material in a picture for the sake of simplification, we should of course also look, and look well, at the material we do put in. We find among artists, especially artists with commercial experience, a tendency to round out and finish every part of the subject so that equal importance is given to everything. This means that no part of the subject has been subordinated and too many elements compete for attention. It is almost imperative that the artist search for a key motif and stress it.
All paintings should have a focal point. This will be the object or group of objects that you feel is of most importance to your theme and your design. Concentrate your sharpest detail or color here, and subordinate it elsewhere. If other spots are too insistent, eliminate some of the highlights and accents, bring the values closer, fuse the edges, or lessen the competing brilliancy of color.
An important means of simplification is to see your patterns or areas of tone as flatly as possible. They should not be broken up or overmodeled with too many obvious planes. Think of light as
Breezing Up by Winslow Homer, national gallery of art, Washington, d. c. All paintings should have a focal point. This will be the object or group of objects that you feel is of most importance to your theme and your design
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