Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Everything But the Kitchen Sink

When confronted with an overload of possible subjects on location, the tendency is to think that since it's there, everything must be included in your composition.  Not so.  It only confuses the viewer when looking at such a painting.  What is this picture about?  If the answer is, Everything, try zooming in on one particular object or building or boat. 

If you can title the painting, it might help focus your attention and thus eliminate extraneous details.  A painting called "Boothbay Harbor" doesn't tell us much about what you want to say about the place.  If you can say, "Sunset over Boothbay Harbor", we know your focus was on the sky and its light and color.  If you give it a title of "Red Wharf", both you and viewer will know that your interest was on the color red, not just the subject.

The time to do the hard work of focusing on your purpose is before you start the drawing or painting.  Know what you want to say.  Then say it!

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