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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Of Interest to Artists, Painters -Life Attracts

People will pay attention to the beauty of a well painted landscape by a good artist. But the instant that a sign of life is placed in the point of view, it attracts more interest from the viewer. Why do you think this is the case? Because human beings are more drawn to focusing their attention to the movement (action) of life forms. Trees, grassy meadows, bushes, hills do not move unless there is some wind. Animals, natures creatures and the human figure provide the action that automatically draws the human eye to observe. Great artists, our forefathers have known this and skillfully placed life forms into their works more than paintings of just landscapes, seascapes, etc... that do not show a sign of a creature of any type.
I am not saying to always express a human figure involvement into your landscapes and such. Sometimes the peaceful containment of an inanimate landscape or seascape is inspiring to us all. Although, it is important to recognize that this psychological aspect of the eyes being attracted to people, creatures and their forms of movement will also attract more people being interested in looking at your art if it contains them.
So, put a little more time into studying the human figure or creatures by sketching them often. When you are comfortable, place them into your paintings, not going overboard with detail. It will change the direction of focus in your painting but it also gives it life. Or try to paint more figural works instead of landscape, seascapes, still lifes, etc... Life is happening all around you, see it and record it on canvas or whatever medium you choose. I am going to do this more often too.

The above painting is titled "Surfside of Pier - San Clemente" 16"W x 12"H, oil on linen, Plein Air style. I consider this a workstudy to enable me to be more experienced in painting surfer scenes. They are difficult to paint en plein air as the surfer does not stay still. I kept watching this guy and quickly painted the exterior lines of his pose as I saw it, then filled it in with various shades, but kept him slender. You do not want to paint blobs, humans have limbs and heads that bend. I painted this location twice during the Paint San Clemente Plein Air Competition last June, the first without a surfer, this one with a surfer. I will try to dig up the first one to show how lifeless it is, I felt it was only a preliminary study in comparison to the above painting showing life and action as it is seen by this pier. Until then, just put your finger over the surfer and watch the life disappear from the scene, see what I mean? I intend to further my studies and paintings of surfers, it is a subject I love. Who doesn't like watching surfers ride the waves? This will be up for auction on eBay, click here to go my eBay auctions.

1 comment:

Jan Blencowe said...

This is an excellent observation, and absolutely true. As soon as you place any living thing into the landscape it will become the focus and center of interest, (so plan for that right from the beginning, don't just plop in something as an after thought!). Also any manmade structure placed in a landscape will also draw the eye, since it also is a representation of human activity, even if it is second hand so to speak. Of course some artists choose to represent the "pure" landscape without any trace of activity and that's fine too (I do it very often) but ading a figure or animal is a sure way to gain viewer interest. Thanks for the good reminder!!