Preparing Your Next Painting Project: To Plan Or Not To Plan

1016 Words5 Pages
Some days you may stand before a canvas and just stare blankly. The muse has abandoned you and you are left with a desire to paint and no idea of what you could possibly create.

On other occasions, you are bristling with creative ideas and innovative ways of approaching a subject. You cannot paint fast enough to get all your ideas out.

Either way, the artist needs to decide how much to plan and how much to leave to the winds of fate. Having a plan is much like a having a roadmap. You can see where you are going and where you will end up. The downside to this method is that if you refuse to veer off the path, you lose spontaneity. However, painting without a plan leaves the artist open to a disaster that fails to engage the viewer and leaves the message a mystery.

As the student progresses in his studies, he will find out what level of planning leaves him opportunities for spontaneity but prevents him from winding up with a fiasco.

What Is The Subject?

Sometimes there is just nothing to paint, or perhaps there is a glimmer of an idea flickering with no firm shape. Times like this call for paper and pencil. Daydreaming and doodling may ignite a spark, or taking a walk or Googling a favorite subject. Sketch some potential compositions. The drawing may be full of details or a few hasty pencil strokes conveying a basic composition. This is especially important for the student just learning the basics of composition and the placement of elements in a painting. As the student’s self-confidence grows, he can minimize the need for detailed studies. Reference photos can also be useful to help answer questions or to solidify an idea.

Spontaneity need not be sacrificed for the convenience of knowing that a composition is satisfac...

... middle of paper ...

...moment. A palette of colors can be representational, abstract, monochromatic or limited palette. It can also be what the artist had left from his last painting. As the painting progresses, the artist may alter colors, change them or eliminate them altogether. Use color to play down a passage, bring a focal point into prominence or grab the viewer’s attention. As with every other aspect of the painting, the artist has many choices.

Use your intuition as you wade through the murky waters of learning your craft as an artist. Be spontaneous, but temper that with educating yourself in how best to portray your subjects. Step outside your comfort zone on occasion to experiment, but practice the traditional lessons to increase your skill level.

A good cook prepares not only standard fare, but creates new dining experiences every once in a while. Go create a new dish!

More about Preparing Your Next Painting Project: To Plan Or Not To Plan

Open Document