Sunday, August 26, 2012

People - Can You Paint Them in 60 Seconds?

At "This Is The Place Heritage Park," my students were asked to paint images of people as they walked back and forth along the street.  Oh, yeah. This proved to be a challenge!

Pedestrians don't hold still!

After a few rough attempts, my students began to get the hang of it. They drew the tilt of the trunk and shoulders first, blocked in the line of the legs, then dropped the head on last (heads, hands and feet of people in the distance should be small and delicate).

It was fascinating to note that even though we were observing the same people while they walked around the park, we each painted our images of them in a unique manner. It's like a signature; each person signs their name in an unmistakable way.

When we focused on painting trees, our individual styles became apparent. Some of our paintings had gentle pastel colors and soft brush strokes while other students chose to use brighter colors with stronger brush passages.


We decided that one style is not better than another - they are just different from each other! Each style reflects the artist's individual interpretation and personality.


The whole point of plein-air painting is to get outside and have a first-hand, real life experience of your subject. Use your senses. Smell the flowers, touch the leaves and feel the sunlight. You can better paint something if you are familiar with it. Of course there is the occasional storm, mosquito or bug and even the occasional "tourist pest" (the kind that doesn't stop talking and bothers you with too many questions). 

But hey, how can you accurately portray nature without having an experience of it? 


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