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Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Simple Start....Thoughts on Starting a Painting

'Down in the Valley'        11x14         pastel       ©Karen Margulis
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 'Try to reduce everything you see to the utmost simplicity....the more Simply you see the more simply you will render. People see to much , scatteringly' Robert Henri

See Simply. Great advice but how do you do that?  How do you look at the landscape or a reference photo and see it simply?  There is so much information and so much that is interesting.  Like a kid in a candy store we want to put it all in!

We can get into trouble right from the start....with our first sketch of our subject. Often we take to much care and time and put too much information in an initial sketch. It may work for some, but for me if I am too precise with my initial sketch I tend to want to put in too much detail too quickly.

I find it easier if I start simply. I do this with a quick black and white thumbnail sketch. I break down the scene into 4 or 5 big simple shapes and assign each a value. (read about my thumbnail method here)

thumbnail for the painting

This simple thumbnail takes all of the little stuff in the scene and groups them into larger shapes. I don't put in things such as fences, flowers, and other small details. These will be added as the painting develops. I squint at the scene to allow me to see it in big simple shapes.

Try this simple start for your next painting. You can always add as much detail as you want but at least you start with a strong and simple plan!


Jo Castillo said...

Good advice and a great painting.

M. J. Joachim said...

Simple is a wonderful philosophy to live by for so many things in life.