Demonstrations from Recent Classes
I am always talking about keeping things simple.  KEEP IT SIMPLE.  Don't try so hard.

Because it is winter (very winter here in northern Michigan) we certainly can't paint outside.  We get a little tired of still lifes, so we paint from sketches and photographs. When we look at a photograph, our brains seem to tell us we have to paint the whole thing  -  the whole scene and all the details.

Each of the paintings, above, was done from photographs with a lot more information.   The photo reference for the painting in the top left showed the whole house and the garden next door.  The painting in the top right was taken from a photo that showed a lot of dark cast shadows from the trees and and a cottage on the left side.  The bottom painting was done from a photo of a whole house and the door was very plain.

What we talk about when we're looking at our reference photos is what is it that attracts us, and how simply can we state that.  These are very small paintings  -  about 8" X 5".

A big painting project is always fun and challenging. but keeping the brush moving with some small, quick paintings is very rewarding too.  Dig out some photographs and see what you can crop and simplify.


Anonymous said...

so so true. I started a large painting of a peacock from a photo back at the beginning of January before I got sick. so coming back now and finishing it I am in a different frame of mind but still wanted to keep the free flowing and loose feel I had started with. It was tough not to start to get caught up in all the many details of the photograph. I had to keep telling myself to keep it light, not to get bogged down, and to tell you the truth I did it. I'm taking it to my professional photographers tomorrow, and I will be posting it soon.
I love your little paintings they are very beautiful and a good reminder to keep it simple. thanks for sharing
peace n abundance,

Terry said...

Wow- this is so helpful. I have lots of photos but really get stuck (almost immobilized) when I try to simplify them for a simpe composition. I'd love to see the photos that you simplified them from - if possible. They're beautiful little paintings!

Catherine said...

Thanks CheyAnne - I do find it hard not to get caught up in the details of a photograph. One thing that helps me, is to do a contour sketch of the part I want, and use that sketch, not the photograph, as my painting reference. I hope you're feeling fine now!

Hi Terry - Good idea - I will post the photos and show how I cropped them. I find that two "L" shaped pieces of paper help to zoom in on what I want.

BluepieDesigns said...

such great advice! I think my biggest problem is simplifying! I can't wait to read your whole blog!
awesome Catherine!

Catherine said...

BluepieDesigns - you're going to read the whole thing - WOW, thanks!!!