It suddenly hit me yesterday when prepping for a demo. We often make things more complicated than they have to be. From everything to setting up and starting a painting to the actual painting process itself...it is always a challenge to keep things simple.
Take trees for example. I avoided painting trees for years because I believed them to be too hard....too complicated. I didn't know how to simplify them. I didn't know how to simplify anything involved with painting. I wish I had pictures of the huge cart of supplies I would haul to pastel class! Live and learn!
Trees don't have to be complicated. They are just shapes after all. Once I learned how to simplify a tree into a basic shape and then carve and mould it like it was a lump of clay, painting trees became doable. Now I enjoy painting trees. Starting and keeping things simple has been the key.
Ideas for Simplifying Trees
- Look at the overall shape of the tree. Is it oval? Square? Round? Triangular? Does it have lots of little section of foliage? Block in this big simple shape.
- Pay attention to the silhouette of the tree....If it was just a big flat shape what would the outer edges look like?
- Make sure the shape you block in for the tree is an interesting shape. You want an interesting positive shape as well as have the shape around the tree (negative space) be interesting.
- Don't let the symbol your brain has for a tree cause you to make a plain, boring and orderly shape.
- Observe carefully. Be a good observer of trees. Pay attention to how they grow, what kind of foliage do they have? Where do their branches come from?
- Practice, Practice and practice some more. Don't avoid what frustrates you. (but don't obsess about it either, balance practice with difficult subjects with subjects you have success with.)