Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Thinking Outside the Box??

This has been running through my head, wondering how other artists do this. When you see apples do you just see apples or do you see other possibilities where one thing leads to something different?  When does one go from trying to record what one sees exactly, to switching to an interpretation or an abstract of what one feels when they see a subject that appeals to them.

I think of artists like Shirley Trevena and the way she has so much in her paintings but some of the items in her paintings are suggestions or are broken into overlapped segments.

Look at this thread in the Watercolor Gallery at Wet Canvas.  To me she was thinking outside the box when she set up her still life.

Do these artists begin with a single subject then morph it into something else - what and how does one start such a process? Do you break up your compositions or place odd objects that do not relate in a painting.

It all starts in the mind, doesn't it - something clicks that sets one's thinking off in a totally different direction.

When you see a subject do you take it beyond the norm in your mind's eye (and on paper) - do you paint what you see or do you paint what you feel when you view this subject? Do you break up backgrounds - think of texture vs. smooth, soft edges/hard edges, harsh color, soft color?

I have watercolor books where one can do creative exercises by doing collages or abstracting an object - is this one of the keys for thinking outside the box?

I looked at Terri Hill's artwork of grapes. In the beginning, she swirled like a reverse "S" of colors from top to bottom then began to paint her subject of grapes. Look at her photos on Facebook Grapes are a typical subject but I think she went "outside the box" on how she portrayed the colors and her use of the reverse "S" for color keys in the painting.  The tonal qualities and textures in her painting are lovely. 

How does one train oneself to think outside the norm, to exaggerate to let brush strokes speak volumes?  I'm thinking it is mostly by experimenting and experience.  What do you think?


Adventures in Art said...

I wonder and ponder many of the same things. I feel that I am a beginning artist and want to add more interest in my paintings. How does one do that? Very intersting post.

debwardart said...

Wow - lots of questions here! I am still a very realistic painter, but lately have been thinking more of patterns than objects. I always wondered why realistic artists became more abstract, and now think that this is a concept that comes with time - you begin to look at things differently and realize that an object could just be a shape or a certain color. It really is interesting how we evolve - everyone finds their own "voice" in their own time.
Someone once told me that you have to constantly change or your are not growing as an artist. I don't think that is necessarily true - I think you have to search for a while to find the subject and medium you like, and when you find what you enjoy - that is what you should paint. If you never change your style or subject, but remain happy with that, then you have found your personal voice (and don't listen to the naysayers!!)

Ann Buckner said...

Adventures in Art (Rhonda), thank you for stopping by and taking an interest in the questions posed. Every painter/artist must pose these same questions to themselves, don't you think? How to take it to the next level? What can I do to add interest, that "zing", that mystery that makes a good painting better? Good luck in your quest. I hope you play a lot, experiment, and will be visiting your blog again to share your journey.

Deb, thank you for sharing your thoughts on these questions posed. I think we often evolve without our realizing it. Sometimes, the evolution is more noticeable (more angst, questions) but often the steps are so small they aren't even realized. I also think that as we question, experiment and reach outward that teacher(s) come along at the right time. For instance, the student becomes the teacher and the teacher the student. Who knows, in this vast world of the internet, how many lives are touched by our humble efforts. Exciting isn't it. *smile*