Creating Visual Interest

Paintings are beautiful because they connect to the viewer in some way. I use a variety of techniques to make those connections. I am a pure technique painter. I am not talented like some say, I use techniques. Learned processes that anyone can use with the proper amount of practice and education. It takes time, it take practice. One technique I learned and practice this last year was an edging technique. It uses an older brush in many new ways. For this painting I use a variety of edges. Some flowers have soft and lost edges while the stems use this new edging technique where I use the corner of the brush and push away. I also use the corner of the brush to add those details in the centers of the flowers. The contrast between the edgy stems and the softer flowers gives the different look I was looking for in the painting. As I have said many times, artists are painters of edges. Just where and how you place and use those edges gives you a variety of looks. You can have a variety of colors in the background, but you need to keep the edges soft so the color recede against the flowers. The more edges the flowers have, the more edges the background can have, but overall it is a relationship of edges that makes the painting work. I have found this last year that if I increase the edges in the stems, especially in the center of interest, I can place more color in the background. Many people email me and say they love my backgrounds. I do too….now….   It has been a road of trial and error to get the backgrounds to work with the painting elements. To give the background visual interest without distracting from the flowers. This is where the wonder stems come into play. Using the corner of the brush to capture some casual stems, with lots of edges, lifts the flowers off the background. Edges advance. They also contrast the flowers and give me the correct amount of visual interest I was looking for in this painting. Are they perfect stems? No…. then are fractured to create interest but also break the lines so they cause your eye to move on to other elements. How did I know to do this? Technique… Painting the stems with the corner of an old brush instead of the point of a round or liner. I learned a new way.

Painting is all about the visual interest. How do you create that? As an artist, you should be in constant search for techniques. That is what I do. How do you create a new and interesting rose? Paint a seascape. Because painting a seascape makes you “see” shapes differently. Look back through my paintings this past 5 years and see how they have changed. Also notice I have added a larger variety to the things I create. This causes me to look at things different. The stems in the painting I talked about earlier, well I learned that from a landscape painter. I bought every one of his DVDs last year and then let his brush evolve mine. I didn’t copy his brush, but I needed his lessons, his knowledge and his eye to help change mine and add a new type of visual interest.   I know many who stop studying and just try to do it themselves. That approach doesn’t work for me. I just get a mental block and can’t do a thing. I need the “spark” of ideas that come from other artists, both old and contemporary to cause me to think new things and new directions. I need the drive in the country to see new sights. I enjoy friends around a fire talking about painting and “sparking” each other with new ideas that you just can’t wait to try. I know now I will constantly change as an artist because I am in search of new visual interest. I will paint those 3 planes of a rock so I can see a rose different. I will paint causal scrolls so I understand the movement of water over rocks and in a churning ocean. It is all natures movement and all natures visual interest. 7 years ago I adapted a portrait technique to paint some roses in a new way. After the success of that painting, I found what I really like to do… discovery techniques and present them in new ways. I use paintings to convey those techniques, to you, but don’t limit them. That visual process to paint a rock can be applied to painting a rose like I did in this painting. I learned it however from painting a rock! It is all techniques and visual interest. To paint better…. paint it all, so you can see it all!

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