2019 Workshop Schedule coming this week!
Visit my Patreon Page for more painting instruction. New Paint-Along Videos coming!

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

What do you do when you Painted a Shortcut?

'Garden Delight'         16x18         pastel       ©Karen Margulis
available $195
It was a tricky situation. I was painting a demo and trying to teach a lesson. Whenever  I do a demo my goal is to have the painting illustrate my point and not make it perfect. Most of the time I end up getting close to finishing the painting. Often I just need a few clarifying marks.

This demo painting was an interesting case. I was talking about not making flowers to similar and perfect......and what did I end up with? Similar and perfect looking flowers! I didn't even notice it until I took it out of my unfinished painting pile.

The painting at the end of the demo

The symbol for a daisy-like flower
We paint shortcut often without even being aware of it. What are shortcuts? They are the symbols or ideas we have about the way familiar objects appear. Our thinking brain develops these shortcuts to help us navigate the immense amount of information in our world. For example we typically have symbols for trees....either Christmas tree or lollipop shapes. For daisy-like flowers we have the symbol in the above photo.  When we paint these shortcuts our paintings are not as interesting than we really observed what was really in front of us.

I had painted shortcuts. I needed to get back into the painting and mess up those flower petals! I looked more closely to my reference photo and saw how unruly the petals of the coneflowers were. I readjusted and added clarity to the painting and called it finished!

close up of the flowers
TIP: If you find yourself painting shortcuts slow down and look. Tell yourself to observe and paint what you see and not what your brain is telling you!


robertsloan2art said...

I have done this so many times. It's got to be something conscious to watch for. It's not that hard to correct in the sketch stage, or with pastels even late in the process. But it makes all the difference.


Very beautiful spring colours painting !!!