Monday 23 August 2010

Right brain painting - turning the image I am working from upside down before I start to paint

OK, so I can be pretty difficult to live with, I admit it, especially in the summer when my studio becomes a furnace and I spend too long away from my paints. This summer I have had a very long break, but I finally made it back to the studio a couple of weeks ago.  It takes a great deal of determination. The dog is in a permanent sulk because her walks are shorter in the morning, the house needs cleaning, the washing isn't getting done, the garden is a mess and someone needs to go shopping – but I have persevered and something is beginning to emerge!

It is still too hot by mid day, which is why I am now catching up with blogging, but I have had time to play with two or three new canvasses using three completely different approaches – one of which - an avenue of beech trees is not behaving itself! When I have complicated images like this  to deal with I quite often turn the drawing I am working from upside down.  It’s a very effective trick to play on the brain, it stops me getting too bogged down in the detail and makes me concentrate purely on the shapes rather than what they are.  Sometimes I fold it in half as well and focus on one half of the canvas at a time.  I can be really exciting when the moment comes to turn the canvas up the right way….the bones of the image are there, intact and ready to be worked on and the composition is often much more accurate as a result. 

If you are a painter this technique is worth trying if you are not already familiar with it and I have also found it a useful one when a composition is not working for some reason – it can show you where you are going wrong as can a photograph or just simply leaving the piece to stew for a day or two.  It is one of the methods taught in an excellent book : « Drawing on the right side of the brain » by Betty Edwards – it’s been around a long time, but I still find it very helpful.

The other two paintings at this time have been experimental with the aim to get back to using big brushes and palette knife – like the two I have included with this piece.

1 comment:

  1. I am an abstract painter and I turn the canvas around periodically throughout the painting process. I find that the painting has to look "right," (balanced, all areas interesting)from all orientations in order for it to be its best from the chosen orientation.