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I believe that art enriches and informs our lives everyday in many positive ways. Sharing those experiences, whether as an artist or as an appreciator, is part of the pleasure. I welcome your comments and hope you find something of value: a laugh, an insight, a new idea or just a happy moment. Enjoy art!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Punching up 'Paradise'

Sometimes I fall in love with a composition in a photo and become very disappointed with the painted results.  Why?  It's a question artists must constantly ask themselves as they evaluate a painting in progress.  I'll try to explain one possible reason a carefully rendered photograph may fall short.
I loved this photo taken by Ruth Novak from her boat.  It had all kinds of neat vacation implications (is she skinny dipping? relaxing? napping down below....), it also said "Paradise Found," and made me feel hot and sticky and cool and wet all at the same time.  Believe it or not this 5 x 7 pastel is a fairly accurate rendition of her photo.  But I find it a bit boring.  Or put another way: it is NOT interesting; I do not want to linger in this piece and let my eyes and imagination wander.

My analysis says "put away the photo and have some fun." Exaggerate the light and shadow and get some vibrant dark water around that towel; let the colors vibrate.  Make the sun on that suit hot, hot, hot and don't be so worried about the outlines...everyone knows what it is.  My courage wains: what if I screw it up?  My brain answers: can't be worse than it is.  My practical side says: but the water isn't really purple.  My artist side answers: who cares?

It boils down to a choice: a photo-perfect reproduction or a creative, interesting piece of art.  Everyone choses differently but in this case I will vote for the latter.  Wish me's back to the easel!
I'd really, really welcome your suggestions!!


  1. I think it's a wonderful painting, Cindy. I like the idea of "airing out the laundry." I have this image in my mind of some laundry I saw once; it was an old farmhouse with three items on the line, an old brown house dress, a dish towel, and a pair of pink lace panties. Made me wonder who was this farmer's wife. I tried painting it once but it didn't have the impact that memory has for me. Maybe I will try and paint it again someday. Right now the memory is enough. I really do like this painting of yours.

  2. I appreciate your comments, and value them....but it did fall a little short of my fantasy results! Clothes on a line are really a story, no?

  3. I love hearing your inner debate out loud, how true! Go for it, mix it up and see what happens. You can always do another one, and then even another. Another composition, color harmony, etc. The world is yours. Love it as always and thanks for sharing!

  4. i love it cindy!! i love the bright colors and the way the towel and suit are off center. it isn't laundry, its a lifestyle. two people just spent 10 hours sailing across the gulfstream, anchored, then heading on to more adventures. one thing i was going to mention is the background. the way the boat had swung on its anchor was the least tropical intersting background. the rest of the shoreline had beautiful palm trees and bright colored buildings. don't know if that would make it more interesting to you. also the color of the water there is actually almost a green blue, it is so clear you can see the bottom. don't know if any of that inspires you but i love it! btw i cannot find that suit. how can someone lose a bathing suit?? haha

  5. Cindy, You've been following my blog so you know I've done a lot of landscapes from photos lately. the one thing that has taught me is not to be a slave to your source photo. No matter how great a photo it may be, as an artist you have more possibilites available to you than the photographer did.
    And Ruth ....
    how can someone lose a bathing suit?
    That may depend on where you were when you took it off. ;)

  6. the comments are as interesting as the painting (is going to be)! Ruth...I hope it turns up, probably left it in paradise. Kirk: you are absolutely correct, I need to be reminded and re-reminded: the artist has many possibilities! The next iteration will be shared soon!


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