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Monday, February 05, 2018

Watch Out for This Sneaky Painting Problem

'Where Bumblebees Play'        12x16          pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $165
It happened without my permission. It was so sneaky that it took me YEARS to see. I was fooled by my own brain and it happens a lot. Sometimes I catch it and sometimes it slips in undetected.  But it is critical that I pay closer attention. In fact it happens to all of us when we paint and awareness is the cure! I am talking about our intellectual brain wanting to put things in order.

Our brains tend to want to organize and put things in order. This is why we end up with rows of similar size and shapes trees and regular spacing between objects. But we enjoy looking at paintings where there is asymmetry and variety. 

We have to be aware of this tendency and fight it....and always be on the lookout for things that are too organized and symmetrical. Have a look at today's painting. It is an older painting that I found in my studio clean up and just reworked.  Look at the photo below. This is the original. Can you spot the issues with the daisies?

The original: How many lines of daisies do you see?
When I painted this I didn't notice the perfect tic tac toe board of daisies. But my intellectual brain had done a good job at being sneaky and coming in to organize my flowers. Look at how perfectly symmetrical they are! The three center daisies are all the same size and shape. They are lined up in a vertical row. There are actually four horizontal rows of daisies. And I  thought I had done a good job! Whew! Back to the drawing board to throw the daisies out of whack!

In progress: Erased the bog center daisies and marked off new placements
What did I do? I brushed out the middle large daisy. I drew circles in the spots where I wanted to add new daisies. I made different size circles to remind me to vary the size of the flowers. I wanted to add some height to move the eye up onto the sky space. I also wanted to keep some daisies with more clarity and detail and let some have softer edges so that they disappeared into the foliage. I adde a couple of bees just for fun!

LESSON LEARNED! Always be on the lookout for that sneaky part of your brain that likes order. 


robertsloan2art said...

Great lesson. It can happen any time. Some errors are reflexive. It's just something to watch out for and fix when seen.

Verna Puglisi said...

You did it again! Addressed a problem that I am currently working on. I fell in love with the chaotic random placement of a pile of tiny flower pots. But even though this was my goal, I automatically self-corrected and ended up (almost) 'putting my pots in a row.'