Sunday, August 28, 2011

Knowing when to Quit (sometimes & someplaces)

Some of the most interesting pieces of art are the ones that fall into your lap.  When you are painting or sketching and you get an effect that is arresting; half real and half abstract.  Like the watercolor portrait above, interrupted after a couple of washes.

Or this nude, which seemed to work without going into any serious detail.

Or this elevation with some simple shadow casting.

Of course you don't always feel like just stopping.  But if you have a little confidence and experience you can quit on certain areas, and continue on in others.  The above washes already have an interesting feel, but I wanted to get into some Ultramarine Blue to balance the warmth.

Even at this point I wanted to add higher contrast and detail, so I moved on, but limited the work to the broken pediment area.

There is a magic in seeing the concrete reality of the sculptural ornamentation, while seeing areas of stained paper.  It is an effect that I strive for, but it will never be at the level of masters like John Singer Sargent, as shown in his watercolor sketch below (called Bedouins).  In this detail the brisk brushwork and brash colors sit side by side with what must have been careful modeling of the faces.  (image from Wikimedia)

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