PAINTING WITH A VISION
In some respects taking up painting is like learning to drive.
Gear changing, clutches, brakes, mirrors, accelerators and coping with live traffic are familiar memories of our first days in a car. All we could think about was the actual procedure of driving, with hands firmly gripping the steering wheel.
The first steps in painting are similar. It can all seem overwhelming as there are so many mysteries to fathom about paint and materials. The actual doing seems to take away from the enjoyment part of things - which we know must exist!
We look for silver bullets and take note of what brushes the masters use and what paint they prefer. We take classes and go to workshops in the hope of some giant leap forward. We must know however that those master painters could paint masterpieces with the cheapest brushes - great tools help the process, but the mastery is not in the tool.
Similarly, classes and workshops are great at first, but we must also understand that workshops and classes would all stop tomorrow if the tutors thought for one minute that every one of their students was going to paint just like them. Classes and workshops are as good as what the student takes away from them and puts it into practice. Painters of years standing have gotten where they are through time, learning and practice - they know it can't be learned in a few hours.
There is another basic that needs to be mastered before we can truly progress and that our attitude to the reference. This can mean a photo or real life.
There is a choice - replication or painting the subject with our own vision. Replication is the choice of most painters because it is safe under the assumption that the reference is always right and always best. Replication is akin to still thinking about the gears, the brakes and the road rules. It's almost as if we are reading the road rules while we are driving.
Painting with vision allows artists to break free of the reference and impart themselves into the work. Replication is obsession with the reference - it is the sole focus. Painting with vision starts with the artist pondering on how they can impart themselves to what they see before them. It could be changing the colours, changing the objects, adding drama, adding interest and leaving out things that don't fit in with our vision.
Painting with our own vision is the most exciting thing about being an artist because we control the outcome instead of the reference being in charge from start to finish.
Vision in art requires a change of thinking. Our natural way of thinking is to copy what is there and we all get caught up in it at some time - even without knowing it. It holds us back from creativity.
Think of what the scene could be and make it your own. This is art and what it is to be an artist.