View Full Version : "Solitude"

04-22-2015, 12:46 AM
Something that I am working on. The panaromic view is what I am trying to achieve. It looks like I need to turn the brush toward me. Maybe a window on the left to let in some light?

water girl
04-22-2015, 10:37 AM
You seem to be considering a change in your painting. Are you asking for C & C?

04-22-2015, 11:46 AM
Ah....yes.... thank you Karen :) I had been up all night (watching youtube videos about painting... and painting).

Perhaps there is more room to the RIGHT for a window? Or do you like the solitude?

04-22-2015, 01:22 PM
You say you are trying to achieve a "panoramic" view - which generally means altering your viewpoint which in turn means adjusting the perspective of the entire piece.. I applaud you for trying something UNphotographic and different.

BUT At the moment, the cup on the table is in regular perspective...we can see partly into the top of the cup which gives us some clue as to your eye level ... but that cup is not "open" enough to make it seem as tho you are sitting in the same place as the person viewing the bookshelves in the background.

I have to be honest and say that I really don't think this works, because there are too many different eye levels and points of view. Also...and importantly.... It is a painting which treats the objects fairly literally, with 3D form - so it does not conform to an alternative kind of pictorial reality. You are talking about bringing in some light...I am not sure why this would help you. Putting in a window? Big, big change....something like that needs considering at the planning stage, rather than now.

Artists in the past used to play games with perspective and viewpoint...Georges Braque is one:


However, see how he has let go of 3D form...so the painting is much more about flat shapes. This is what makes it work, even tho the perspective is not regular perspective as our eyes would see it. Notice how this picture is about pattern, it is not about light revealing form.

Here is a contemporary artist, doing something similar:

Shirley Trevenna. In this one, she does nod at 3D form, we can see it in the figure, in the pears. But the entire canvas is SO carefully constructed. She really knows how to balance shapes and pattern so that the 3D element becomes secondary. We KNOW with our eyes that the table tips up, and the perspective is not "regular", but we recognise that the artist has done these things quite deliberately in order to create a new, contemporary approach to her subject. The image works. Here is another of hers:


The table and the objects on it are not "correct" for perspective in relation to the chair...but Shirley knows what she is doing and the way the table and the objects work together, tonally, creates a foreground shape which balances well with the rest of the image. lots of things going on in this image, some visually "normal", some not at all - yet we don't feel uncomfortable when we look at it.

I don't want to sound harsh, and as I said before, I applaud your desire to try out something new - but I do think it is important to recognise that distorting reality takes you into VERY advanced territory, and requires a very different way of thinking, as I have tried to show with these examples. At this moment in time, you are still struggling with the concept of value v colour so this is a little like a person who has recently learned to swim the crawl and can manage a few lengths of a pool, deciding to enter the competition to swim right across a big bay! In rough water! Jolly brave but perhaps a little TOO ambitious?

Still - nothing ventured, nothing gained. So, my recommendation as a tutor would be...if you want to try something like this, I suggest that you draw it out quite carefully in advance, perhaps do a full-size tonal rendition of your image, to see if the shapes within the rectangle work. Concentrate on the shapes, treat the image like a jigsaw puzzle. By all means aim for "panoramic view", but remember that there needs to be a sense of balance within the image...I think you can see that even tho the images above are distorted, there is still visual balance....whereas looking at your image, I am struck instantly by a sense of vertigo and discomfort.

On reflection, I wonder what you exactly mean by "panoramic"? Do you mean the kind of panoramic view we get with a wide-angle camera lens? If so, it is important to realise that in a photo, even tho it is a panorama, everything is in tune with one visual viewpoint. See what I mean with this panoramic interior:
There are multiple vanishing points but only one eye level...the perspective makes sense to us throughout.

I hope this is not too much for you to cope with, but I have noticed that you like to tell it as you see it...so I have taken your lead!

04-22-2015, 03:05 PM
No.....I appreciate the not beating around the bush, the straight-forwarness. As you have seen, I never say anything without conviction, whether I am correct in my saying or not. My wife chuckles at the notion that I might 'ever' be into 'small talk'. Yesterday I showed her your youtube video about the types of strokes one can make with pastels. I said to her "you've been warned, Jackie does not beat around the bush. She is direct and has a tone". Almost immediately upon watching the video she started smiling, looked at me and said "she sounds just like you" :)

Is perhaps what I am after more of a fisheye effect, with the center of the image curving outward rather than the outer edge curving inward? Okay.....I admit that I did not intend from the beginning for the painting to go in this direction, but I found the distortion of the perspective(s) 'fun'.

The feeelings of strangeness, confusion, discomfort and vertigo are rather appealing to me. I am quite 'different' than most people, and this odd-baldness is something I have come to embrace about myself more and more as an artist.

Thank you for sharing Trevenna's work. I have a new artist to follow :)

04-22-2015, 04:19 PM
My husband says I sound like a cross between a headmistress and Margaret Thatcher in my vids. Made him feel he needed to sit up straight. I laughed. Direct. I like that.

You stick with your enjoyment of the distortions. And if you like your viewer to feel those feelings you mention, then you are on the right track.

I think having "conviction" is half the battle these days.


04-23-2015, 09:16 AM
George, Jackie said it beautifully. Great lesson! I'll add something about how colors are generally perceived psychologically. (Just IMHO and may be only that I have a problem with your title! :) ) You've titled your composition "Solitude," yet the overall warm atmosphere is cloying and busy, not giving a sense of contented contemplation, but more like being trapped; and warm colors generally imply comfort of a different sort than solitary intellectual contemplation; red also implies excitement, possibly violence--everything BUT quiet solitude. Cool blue tones generally convey a sense of calm and quiet. Your composition, on the other hand, seems unsettled, hectic and crowded. Now I'm not saying your idea of solitude might not be comforting, warm and crowded--just saying that your idea might not come across to others the way you intend it. It is wonderful, however, that you're such an adventurous painter and willing to try different things. And again, just IMHO, so the problem, like beauty, may be in the eye of the beholder!

04-23-2015, 10:05 AM
It really is beauty in the eye of the beholder. This piece got me a lot of likes on Facebook, more so than here. Like Stephan Baumann says, on Facebook there are hundreds....thousands....who are looking for your next painting....who think just like you. I guess we really are all different, and perhaps I am used to dealing with chaos, because when I look at this composition the elements are pretty clear cut. To me, alone time is alone time. It is very easy to read too much into a title. If it had been titled "A Painting" would you still feel trapped and unsettled? If not then the title is getting way too much credit. Part of the job of the artist is to paint for himself or herself, and part of the job of the artist is to make the viewer fill in the details, to wonder, to question, to become unsettled or otherwise 'feel' something. This piece is at least partially accomplishing what I set out to do. There are mechanical issues and some more knowledge that I need to better convey with the apparatus what it is that I am thinking, but I feel happy with where this is going. Yesterday someone commented to me that this piece reminded them of Pierre Bonnard's work. Pierre are errily similar in a lot of ways. Again, I appreciate the feedback and suggestions. I did watch a lot of Baumann's youtube videos, and while I think he occasionally runs in circles with his logic, I have to say that I learned A LOT from about composition and lighting. I hope to be able to translate what I learned to this piece :)

04-23-2015, 11:52 AM
You are absolutely right, that every painting just has to find its own audience to appreciate it, and I'm glad you got a lot of positive responses on Facebook! We need encouragement to expand our horizons. I think the overall atmosphere today in art is to reward either totally avant garde work, usually created by young MFA graduates, or the photorealistic paintings, where perspective must be correct and details rendered realistically, in "normal" colors. I, too, find this very stifling at times while, at other times, I strive to learn the correct way so that I can choose to use it or not, rather than have my work perceived as incorrect instead of unconventional. :lol: As to your question of whether I would feel the same about your painting if it were titled differently, yes I would. I see the wonky perspective, many angles, diagonal lines, the vase, which is the only grounded object with a horizontal base, is yet perched precariously on a corner of the table where it might be knocked off--all very close up, and the only way out is a door that might not be functional because of its shape--so all these elements do not speak solitude to me. But that may be because I equate solitude with peaceful harmony! Again, what the viewer brings to the painting may be the ultimate decider! :)

04-23-2015, 02:28 PM
Blayne you are so articulate, I love to read your posts. Having work perceived as "incorrect instead of unconventional" - I like that - I felt this painting moves in that direction, hence the long lesson I gave to explain my reasons for thinking in this way.

Re the title...... I generally choose to comment on the structure of the image, the way the artist has tackled the design/compositional elements of shape or form, drawing, colour, tone, distribution, movement, etc etc... However this might not be a correct or proper approach, since the title may actually be the raison d'etre of the piece. Hence my backing off once I heard that the artist is actually quite pleased with what is going on. The artist has to be the final arbiter.

04-23-2015, 08:03 PM
Why, thank you, Jackie! I certainly always enjoy reading your posts. Not only are you articulate but you have the ability and language to describe artistic concepts that bespeak years of education in the discipline. Your phrase, "It is a painting which treats the objects fairly literally, with 3D form - so it does not conform to an alternative kind of pictorial reality" is a perfect example. I would not have been able to articulate that incongruity in those terms, although I perceived it in looking at the painting. As to my commenting on the title, I'm afraid that's a failing of mine, to look at a title as a way of gaining a better understanding of what the artist is trying to say. (I admit an addiction to reading!) I find myself doing that at galleries and museums, as well, to an annoying extent, but it is particularly a feature of looking at art on WC because we see the title first before clicking on the painting. When the title seems wildly (in my opinion :lol:) out of sync with the subject matter, I have the thought that the artist failed to convey the intended message with his work and so, in this case, thought a comment on it might be appropriate as part of the critique. (As I realized while writing my post, my concept of solitude may not be the artist's concept of that state of being!)

George, you've been wonderfully open and kind in your responses to my going off subject in talking about the title! Thank you! And I've enjoyed the conversation between you and Jackie about your mutual directness! :lol:

04-24-2015, 04:05 AM
I am not sure it is "going off topic" to talk about the title. As I said before, the title might be a really important element taking the whole picture into account (dreadful pun). so it isn't off topic at all.

It's all good stuff, making our brains work a bit.