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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Detail is an Illusion: Painting Detail in a Landscape

'Dreams Come True'           8x10         pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $165
I decided to put them in at the very end of the painting. I didn't stress over how I would paint something so tiny. I didn't draw them first. I just made a few little marks and called it done. All it took were a few simple marks to give a suggestion of buildings and boats in the distance. My marsh now had the hint of life. But it is just an illusion!

Call it a 'hint' or 'suggestion' of detail. That is the way I like to paint detail in a landscape. I want the painting to have a bit of mystery. I want the viewer to participate and fill in the blanks. I choose not to paint every blade of grass. I choose not to draw precise buildings, trees or other objects.  My goal is to provide just enough information for the viewer to know what I am suggesting.

The marks that suggest detail are quite abstract when viewed in isolation. Look at the close up photos from the marsh painting. When removed from the painting they are just a collection of marks. The detail we see is just an illusion.

Practice restraint the next time you are tempted to put in too much detail in your painting. Try to see how limited you can make your marks. Suggest the detail!

Painting notes: This is another demo done for my recent Texas workshop. It was the artist choice demo and I am always happy to paint the marsh!

1 comment:

HappyPainter212 said...

And by doing so (leaving out detail) you are also illustrating distance in your painting. That distance really is engaging to the viewer. Thank you for sharing this!