Thursday, April 10, 2014

Looking at the Trees

I am at Art and Soul in Portland, Oregon now, teaching lots of classes and having a great time.  Pix of this event are forthcoming, but in the meantime I wanted to post a video I made a while ago, and share with you an idea that has seems to have been helpful to people in my workshops recently:  Looking At The Trees.  As opposed to The Forest.  Zooming in more than zooming out is another way to look at it.

The fact that each move you make on a painting changes the whole painting can be a bit intimidating, and leave you always zooming out, looking at the forest, to see how each brush stroke has affected the whole.  This is an important part of the process, but I think we often zoom out way too soon. What we can end up with is a painting that falls short of its potential, a painting that grew up too quickly, that might be pretty on the surface, but lack depth and character.

While working on a painting, try focusing on the trees, zooming in, more than you zoom out.  Pay attention to the process as you work, enjoy the feel of the paint, the pressure of the brush, the gesture of a scribble; look at the minutia: how this line crosses over that one, how one color affects another, etc.  Enjoy the contrasts and contradictions; surprise yourself, let yourself not know where you are going, leave it open-ended.

15 comments:

  1. Jane, when I click on the arrow to start the video, I get a message that says the video is private, cannot access it - help!

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  2. Me, too, Jane...can't access the video...:(

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  3. I have the same problem as Anna. Can't wait to see your latest!

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  4. Me too, I get the message the video is private :((

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    1. Oops! Sorry about that. I didn't mean to make it private. Got it fixed now. Enjoy.

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  5. hi am enjoying your videos as always. If you have made marks, then go back over and cover them up, I am assuming you have decided you dont like something about them, ie colors, line, scribble etc?

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  6. I love the boldness in which you draw, scribble, paint....and then suddenly: put another layer of paint or pastel on top of it. The whole picture changes so many times during your painting process - that's fascinating to watch. Sometimes I sit in front of the computer and shout out, "No, it's great...don't paint over it!" Just to see a minute later how perfect it turned out. I need to take one of your online classes. Unfortunately I missed the ongoing class.

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  7. I enjoyed the video and like the concept you suggest of looking at the trees. I too, missed your current online class, because it was full. Maybe next time :-)

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  8. This is very helpful, Jane. Thank you.

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  9. Beautiful Jane ! And the music as well !

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  10. How do you do what you do? It is amazing, and I really appreciate the videos.

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  11. Jane, How luck we are you are so relaxed under the camera! What paper are you using for these big peices? Do you gesso it first?

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    1. Hi Selena! I think I'm using the Canson Dessin paper. Look on "Favorite Materials" page (link in the right margin on the blog, or under Links on my site). I call it "Not so cheap drawing paper for big fat art". I don't gesso first, but do a lot of drawing and painting in the first layers so the paper becomes coated with paint pretty quickly. Maybe I should gesso....

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