Paint the Painting

One of my favorite classes this term is painting I. Maybe because I’ve taken an art class every term since I’ve been back to school, I feel like I’ve crossed some imaginary line into a new zone. This painting I did was for an assignment where we designed our own still life (which must include an egg) to paint.

Here is my still life:

To begin with, I massed in the black and gray.

Then I began to put in the orange. This is where I started to get into trouble, just a little. I was trying to paint those flowers.

My instructor taught me something that I think is a very important lesson about painting.

He said, “You’re not painting flowers. Your painting a painting. Just keep massing darks and lights and eventually the flowers will appear, almost magically.”

It took me a little while to get the idea lodged in my brain. But it seems to be sinking in pretty well. I think it may well be the best lesson for painting. We get so caught up in painting our flowers and getting every little detail right that we lose sight of the bigger picture and lose the whole painting. We end up with one part that looks great, but the rest isn’t as detailed or focused or proportional. You can’t paint the flowers, you have to paint the painting.

Obviously, there are no broader life lessons to be drawn from this painting lesson. 🙂

If we concentrate too hard on getting every little detail perfect, then we lose perspective on the whole and things begin to fall apart. We  miss out on the bigger picture where the magic happens.

So, here is my bigger picture:

You may be wondering why the flower in the front changed from orange to white. Well, it was a real tulip and by the time I got to that part of the painting, it had already wilted. My garden didn’t have any orange tulips anymore. So, I had to switch to white. It was also a different type of tulip so it turned out a tiny bit funky. But overall, I’m pleased with how it turned out. Especially the glass jar. I asked my instructor how to do glass, because I was kinda scared of it. He said the same thing. Just concentrate on the darks and lights and it will happen.

Today I am grateful for: peace and quiet, summer weather, soccer, the library, and ART!

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