Friday, August 20, 2010

Gravestones as Chess Pieces

Painting is easy. Thinking is hard.

As we’ve seen in a couple of recent posts, the thought process always comes before the painting. Everything depends on your initial thought or feeling. You may decide to go for photographic accuracy, or you may want to caricature the form, as we saw yesterday.

One guiding thought is to rearrange the elements to convey an idea. I showed you this painting of an Irish graveyard a while ago, but now I want you to see what the actual view looks like.

I returned to the same churchyard on our recent trip to Ireland.

For the painting I was inspired to express something deeper emotionally (which I can’t put into words) and I had to move the gravestones around like chess pieces until they stirred up those feelings.
The painting will be in the upcoming book “Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter,” (November, 2010), which is now at the printer.

The graves belong to the Corry family of Kilnaboy, County Clare: Michael (d. 1965) and Delia (d. 1970), Regina (d. 1980) and Tom (d. 2005); Patrick (d 1915) and Ann (d. 1961) Corry and their niece Nanette O’Regan (d. 1950).


=shane white= said...

Nice way to convey reverence.

Can't wait for the book, man.


Mary Bullock said...

How do you find the time to write and paint too!

Steve said...

Cameras record the flat "reality" of a scene. Artists sometimes process that scene through the heart and give us images that "express something deeper emotionally."

This post is a powerful counterpoint to the earlier post on Scart Rd. If all we ask our human hands and eyes to do is faithfully replicate a camera's exposure, we miss the opportunity to bring our deeper reality -- some would say our souls -- into expression. Of course, the more skill and technique we bring to that work, the better, but it's the feelings that "can't be put into words" that make art a vital expression of the human experience.

John-Paul Balmet said...

When I realized that there could be a marriage of what I wanted the image to be and what the image was in reality, things really changed for me. I'm glad you mentioned that you wanted to convey a particular emotion, and took liberties to make that happen all the while informed by the scene before you.

Hopefully that sketchbook of your travel paints will be at the printer soon as well!

Erik Bongers said...

My God, someone's moved that tombstone since your last visit!

(still love the light on that painting)

Don Cox said...

"Cameras record the flat "reality" of a scene. Artists sometimes process that scene through the heart and give us images that "express something deeper emotionally.""

So do good photographers.

Steve said...

Don, you're absolutely right. Thanks.