Are You Painting Too Slowly?
This is not an article about some secret formula for speed painting. There is no prize for the quickest painting completed either. Rather I want to look at the link between painting intuitively, decision making and getting the painting down quickly. The idea is to express your interpretation on the canvas with as little time wastage as possible.
I do believe that there is no inherent value in a painting simply because it took the artist weeks to complete. Also an overly rendered painting that looks like it could be a photograph does not necessarily make a good painting either. I do suggest that a painting that was completed quickly and that works is a beautiful thing to behold. Why? Not only is it great to look at in its own right, but you will get to know something about the artist too.
Painting from life reminds me that I need to solve a problem quickly. This means seeing the problem, whether it is composition, light or colour issues. Then I need to find a solution and carry this out promptly before the scene changes too much. Many painting problems exist in these situations and solving them trains an artist to paint intuitively. This without doubt will make you a better artist. It will also benefit your collectors who can enjoy the experience when they see your painting.
How to develop an intuitive approach to painting is not difficult. All artists have this ability. It is a case of:
The number one approach is still to paint alla prima. This means to complete a small painting in one session. Start with a still life set-up before venturing outdoors to build your confidence.
Planning makes all the difference. Know what your palette will be. Make this less complicated by using a limited number of colours. Ideally you will stick to the primaries plus white and maybe a few extras like alizarin and burnt umber for darks.
There is much to do, but once you try this aproach out a few times you will start to get a system that works for you. Ever notice how a master artist can draw a figure’s gesture with a line or two. The curve running through a figure onto which all aother elements “hang” to give a figure study life. Or a landscape artist who homes in on the creitical light and dark elements to give drama and impact. These are all skills that happened from working quickly and intuitively.
Life is still the best teacher. Use the quick study to add power to your painting and joy to your experience. Brevity is the best approach in giving a speech and it also applies in communicating through your art.
Learn more about painting intuitively and quick outdoor studies on Breakthrough Art Workshops.
Malcolm Dewey: Artist. Country: South Africa