Monday, May 2, 2011

Hello to Spring and Eye Stoppers

Signs of Spring
Acrylic and Watercolor on Paper
9" X 12"

Spring makes me want to paint flowers. The urge actually starts in late winter, when I think spring will never come. Especially when I go off the mountain and down into the LA Basin, where it is green, green, green. Will we live in a world of grays and browns up here forever? Winter without snow has its own soft, subtle, and soothing palette, but after a while, I crave green.

Our first hint that spring is coming is the sprouting of our daffodils. Then, after the buds unfold, a spring snow predictably smothers them. Yet, the strongest plants refuse to be subdued—though they might lay limp for a few days, reeling from the shock, they rise once again to bob in the breeze. I think there is a lesson there.

This painting sat in the viewing area for about 30 seconds when Clint spied a “eye stopper” shape. Although unnoticed by me, once he pointed it out, it was all I could see. It became the parsley in a model’s smile, a dignitary’s unzipped fly. I couldn’t wait to get back up to the studio to fix it.

There are a number of “eye stoppers” that can sneak in and potentially ruin a painting: a weird juxtaposition of lines or shapes that confuse the eye, or rendering that is too regular, too symmetrical, or too similar to something else in size, shape or color (Is that a penis next to that mountain?).

It’s an element that sticks out like a sore thumb to you or someone else viewing the painting—especially the “someone else”—because they haven’t been looking at the darn thing for hours and hours. For the artist, this is akin to a typo in the front-page headline; the obvious error missed by the proofreader and caught by the pressman who can’t spell his way out of a paper bag.

Sometimes you can fix it, sometimes you can’t. I lucked out.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to have someone else look at your work. Someone that is honest with you and observant (thanks, my dear).

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