*I have been told that some of the subject matter included in this post might reach into “Drawing for the Right Side of the Brain” territory, since I have never read that book ,this is my (I am sure) less eloquent version of the subject matter. honestly I really don’t know my right from my left anyway.
When using a reference source like a picture or a layout for your painting the act of visually translating that image to your canvas can be can be quite a challenging one, there can be this inner struggle in your mind between the analytic side and the sentimental side of your brain. I always find it helpful to try to block out that sentimental side of your mind, the part with all the stored memory of all things you know and embrace that logical side of your mind since this is going to aide you in visually breaking down the elements such as for example which colors to mix, which brush to use or how much paint to apply.
There is sometimes a tendency to want to rendered favored areas into something greater than what you have in front of your eyes and this can lead to a hot mess of confusion, for example if you are painting say a leaf, there is going to be that part of your brain coaxing you to depict the leaf from your collective memory of all the zillions of leaves you have seen in your lifetime, it would be more productive to block out these urges since you are dealing with a new challenge and you should be focusing on the present and depicting what is actually sitting right in front of you. This sentimental part of your brain is going to tell you that a leaf is usually green, it has a stem, it has these veins in the middle and it has pointy edges, now this is all useless information for the task at hand, you want to tap into that part of your mind that tells you “this object is just a mixture of black and green that gradates to green and white and has some yellow highlights thrown in.” It is like you have to take a step back and detach yourself from a lot of the things that you are comfortable with, it is like a very sterile, scientific approach, maybe it would be good to pretend that you have never even seen a leaf before, in this way you can focus on a non-bias, analytical approach that should yield positive results. You can even take it a step further and not think of the leaf as an object at all, it may be better to just think of it as just another part of the composition
another brushstroke, another dab of paint and just move on from there.
Being a self-taught painter, I find this clinical method of visualization really helps especially when I am working on difficult, complex areas of a painting, much in the way that I would imagine a fire walker psyches himself up to walk over the coals, I want to get into a zone of detachment where i do not panic. In the past I have had a history of crashing and burning while working on difficlut areas of a canvas, but with this method of visualization I no longer feel like I am totally going to screw up, it is a good safety net to have.
March 2, 2014