View Full Version : Flea on the Dog vs One Stroke Painting

K Taylor-Green
02-27-2007, 02:40 PM
I know we have had discussions on this subject in the past. But we have a whole new playing field and I think it would be interesting to explore it again.
The flea on the dog, referring to very detailed work, the one stroke painting referring to very loose.
I don't want to get into pros and cons here, what is right or wrong. I want to talk about what comes naturally to you, and what you struggle with. Do you paint detail with precision and struggle to loosen up? Or vice versa? If so, why?
Do you work to loosen up because someone in the art world said you should, or because you see and admire this type of work and long to emulate it?
Have you heard that detailed work is persona non grata in the art world and if you want to be taken seriously you need to loosen up?
If you are drawn to photo realistic work, do you feel defensive?

When I first started to paint as an adult, I was drawn to photo realism in a big way. That is how I wanted to paint. It wasn't till I kept plugging away at it that I realized I just don't have the patience for it. I still want high realism in my work, but I want it known at a glance that it is a painting too, not a photo.
Let me know what you all think!

02-27-2007, 03:40 PM
Ohhh! Good topic Kate - I'll particiapte when I have a free moment, and enjoy reading what others are saying in the meantime.


Pat Isaac
02-27-2007, 05:04 PM
Hmmm....interesting. I have always been draw to realism as my training was very academic and old master. I have gone through many mediums in the process and have settled on oil pastel. This may be do to my love of oil painting and my love of drawing. The best of both worlds. Often I have been inclined to "loosen up" because so many people strive for that. However, I need to be true to myself, realizing that this is how I want to express myself and continue to grow with my art. I have an artist friend who tried to "loosen up" for years as his instructors kept telling him he should do that, but he finally decided that that was not what he wanted to do. He is now a very well known artist in this area painting very realistic still life. I think you need to find where your muse leads you and what works for you, always stretching your limits.


Donna T
02-27-2007, 05:33 PM
Gosh Kate, you have been reading my mind. I'm a flea-on the-dog artist but not by choice. I guess I think that if I loosen up I will be more of an artist and less of a camera. I admire people who can put their own feelings into their art so that each piece makes a statement that is theirs alone. I copied this quote from a watercolor book by Jo Taylor, AWS, because it sums up what I struggle with: "It takes courage not to paint things as they actually are. The reason for this is because most of our aim since childhood has been to draw things from nature as they appear. Therefore, it is difficult to make the transition from drawing to painting the essence of something- your own unique interpretation of the subject". I find a lot of truth in this...yet at the same time artists who can capture the finest details amaze me and, at least in my part of the country, detailed work seems much more popular than impressionistic art or, heaven forbid, abstract! I'm so confused!!!

Donna T

Pat Isaac
02-27-2007, 05:41 PM
I just think you need to keep exploring, exploring and more to find you place and then explore more.


02-27-2007, 05:54 PM
Now painting in a 'modern impressionistic' style, my realistic landscapes/seascapes/florals stimulate the viewers imagination whereas the abstacts take on an air of realism!................'bluefish':cool:

Pat Isaac
02-27-2007, 05:59 PM
Yes, I can understand that. Recently my realistic paintings have taken on an abstract feel. I think that within any realistic painting the abstract qualities play an important part.


02-27-2007, 06:04 PM
oh, good thread kate!

i also am amazed at the hyper-realism, but i know there is no way i would ever sit stil long enough to do it myself. also think that there are few who work this way that aren't just 'copy machines'.

i am trying more each year to put something else into my work instead of just what's there. somedays i get it, many i do not. i am just beginning in plein air work, and its changing things for me alot--i no longer am happy slaving away at copying from a photo. they feel sooo limited, like i only have one eye open. and in doing plein air, you cannot fiddle, you must be quicker, and that seems to make a person go more intuitively, and i think at that point you cannot help but put you into the painting.

in other words, super-realism fasinates me but art more like say, richard schmid or harley brown makes me drool! those works are very real and solid, but yet there is something far more in it than any camera could find. i will probably be looking for that 'something' forever, hoping to put some into my own work. maybe someday....

02-27-2007, 07:16 PM
I know I'll never ever be able to paint in an abstract manner.... I just don't seem to have that much imagination.... I continually struggle to "loosen up" but do manage to dab in a stroke of color just because I feel it there rather than seeing it there. My paintings, even though they are realistic and possibly camera like , are a huge part of me and the way I feel about my subject. I do make subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, changes to improve the composition and hope that I have accomplished that goal. Painting is a part of who I am.... if I'm camera like.... that's ok... I've enjoyed every brush or chalk stroke that I've applied from that imfathomable right brain of mine. I thoroughly enjoy the abstracts and absolutely delight in the loose paintings that others do... and I will admit... I'd love to be able to paint like that.... I'm delighted that someone can. Donna Roth

K Taylor-Green
02-27-2007, 08:06 PM
My take on photo realism. It isn't just a copy machine thing, though a lot of people think so and maybe some of the artists who paint that way are. But think of this. Let's take an artist who paints very photo realisticly, place him in a studio with a live model. What do you think his finished work is going to look like?
Do you think he only paints with that kind of realism from a photo?

02-27-2007, 08:21 PM

I'm a sucker for trompe l'oeil
Does this says it all ? :-)

Kind regards,


02-27-2007, 08:46 PM
Interesting thread. Made me stop and think. What little early training that I had was from an artist who was a photo realist. She took hundreds of hours to paint one painting with very small brushes. Really great work and this is what I emulated early on. Having taken a hiatus from painting for approx. 30 years, I started back with a looser style and then tried to tighten up again. It has taken much work with pastels to get away from the very precise drawing and painting. I think that some of looser work has come from sometimes working quickly. A life drawing class that featured an hour of 1 minute poses helped with this ( just getting the essence of the pose) more than any thing else. The same holds true for working plein aire. Time is not there for getting the details, just the essence of the story.


02-27-2007, 09:59 PM
My take on photo realism. It isn't just a copy machine thing, though a lot of people think so and maybe some of the artists who paint that way are. But think of this. Let's take an artist who paints very photo realisticly, place him in a studio with a live model. What do you think his finished work is going to look like?
Do you think he only paints with that kind of realism from a photo?

In my experience, the answer to your question is, "Yes!" There are very few people who can easily make a transition and feel comfortable with it from three dimentional to one. People who work primarily from photos in any style have trouble working from life whether it be a model, still life or plein air. Those who have formal fine art training start with working from life, and can make that transition if they want to (but those I know still prefer to work initially from life.) Those who start their art training by copying photos have a much harder time making the reverse change. Now then, are there exceptions to this statement? Of course there are and I'll probably hear from them! :lol:

As for myself - My early training was formal/from life, and realistic. Then I switched to acrylic abstract and then calligraphy & illumination when my kids were young and finding time to paint or have a place to paint was difficult. Talk about tight! My sister introduced me to pastels knowing how much I liked to draw, and the first few years of pastels were also very tight - in part because many of the artists I was associating with at the time were trained industrail designers - more very realistic work. Within my heart I longed to break loose with color and design, but it took a workshop from William Herring to get out of the rut I was in. I felt liberated! Arbitrary color, hard edge designs, lines, squiggles and all (see my tulip and sunflower examples on my website). Then I decided I had to try photo realism just once, and A Treat For Tiger was the result. My design friends told me it would be the easiest painting I ever did, and they were right - just copy the photo... everyting was there in the right values, etc. Of course it just so happened I had a photo that was already well composed when I did it! All I did was change the rectangle format to almost square, and change the color of the sofa from brown/gold plaid to soft blue. (although I do recall asking my son to model his hands in the right pose once as I wasn't quite satisfied or sure of what I saw in the photo)
Now I've come full circle back to the more formal/life painting but living in the NorthWET most of the landscapes must be finished or even started from photos. I still love my hard edge technique and will use it when I want to. I've also done some pure abstracts in pastel that were lots of fun.
Did I mention I don't know what I want to be when I grow up? :lol: About the only thing I know I don't want to do is photo realism or to me agonizingly boring detail.


02-27-2007, 11:42 PM
As an 'art consumer' I appreciate all styles from the non-representational to the hyper-realistic. I tend to be very eclectic in my art-collecting habits for this reason.
As a drawer/painter: loose=easy; detail=hard ;-) I strive for a relaxed realism. I also like to take a lot of liberty with color.
Great thread!

Susan Borgas
02-28-2007, 05:21 AM
I used to feel guilty painting in a realistic style, as if it was never good enough but now feel quite comfortable with what I do.

I think I might be a bit of an odd ball here but it doesn't matter if I paint from a photo, still life or plein air; My work looks the same so I have given up and just be myself and paint how I want and where I want, which in most cases is in my studio.

One change that has happened over the years though my work isn't as realistic up close as it use to be and yet looks very realistic standing back. I can't say that it was intentional but may have happened when there was more demand on my time as an artist....... maybe in a few years time, my style will have loosened up more and think when did that happen!!!:D

Like music, I have a very broad taste in art and appreciate what others can do that I can't. Then again isn't that the beauty of art; the diverse styles and characters that go with it :thumbsup:

02-28-2007, 06:37 AM
Susan, I am very pleased you expressed your feelings. Mine are exactly the same. I feel I always have to defend painting from photos. I also have a problem with the word photorealistic, why not just realistic. I feel photorealistic puts a negative feeling to a painting.
What is wrong with painting from a photo. If you give ten people the same photo, you will get ten different paintings. Everybody puts their own interpretation to a photo. The end result is what counts, not the way you got there. I started painting a few years ago as a hobby. People seem to like what I am doing. At the moment I don't have any urge to change my style. For me the most important part is that I enjoy what I am doing and not trying to conform to what I ought to be doing. Anyway who decides what is right and what is wrong.

Kathryn Wilson
02-28-2007, 08:04 AM
My art training certainly pushed me towards realism early on, but I found I don't have the patience to sit and pick on a painting for days and weeks, months, years. There are so many things I want to paint and not enough time.

LOL - I have been blaming my aging eyesight for the lack of detail in my paintings - good excuse, eh?

We can talk about "market driven" painting, but how much fun is that - painting to please others and not yourself. Listen to your heart and mind and let it go! "See the essence of your subject" has become my motto.

In another thread I talk about being in a room of people painting in different mediums - from colored pencil to oil paints to pastels. What a broad spectrum of styles - although I long to be able to sit and do detailed work like the colored pencil folks, I know that is not what I am. On the other hand, I greatly admired the wonderful softness of the oil paintings, but again, it's not who I am at this point.

The one thing I am hearing here from some of you is that you "must" stay within one style for the rest of your lives - don't! You need to experience it all to find who you are as an artist.

Pat Isaac
02-28-2007, 08:49 AM
I totally agree, Kat. I think you need to move around and try different styles and different media to grow as an artist. I also think these kinds of experiences jars our creativity and causes us to maybe think along different lines.I often take a class with an artist whose work I admire, not to paint like them, but to learn from them and to stimulate the muse. Every now and then I like to sit down with colored pencils and do a drawing. I often find this activity therapeutic and relaxing.


K Taylor-Green
02-28-2007, 09:18 AM
Lots of great responses!
Kat hit it for me! Follow your heart and do what feels right for you. I guess I just don't understand artists that try to work in a style just because someone tells them they have to....for whatever the reason. I don't work loosely because I CAN'T, at least not without a struggle. By the time I get something done that way I am so frustrated that it is no fun. What can that possibly add to my artistic growth?
I LIKE the realism I achieve and it feels right to me, not like I'm forcing it.

I have a friend who paints in a photorealistic style in Colored Pencil and Oils, no matter if it is from real life or a photo. When she works from photos, she isn't a slave to them, she picks what she wants...leaves out the rest, but the resulting piece has a super realistic look. I truely admire her work. Taking that much time for something like that would give me an ulcer!

Piper Ballou
02-28-2007, 09:28 AM
I like both the photorealistic style and the looser let it flow style. I tend right now paint more photorealistic, however, deep down there is a stirring for a just it flow style. I agree with Kat, that there is no right or wrong style, follow your heart.

Since I have to usually paint every flea on the dog I decided to try a little bird being a little looser, I like the outcome....so I am going to look at the subject and decide what will work and just see what happens.

Kathryn Wilson
02-28-2007, 09:44 AM
There certainly are subjects that need to be realistic - to satisfy a customer's commissioned cat portrait for instance. A painting of a historical building needs to be accurate perspectively and architecturally.

But to be happy with yourself, be true to who you are. I look back on where I started and where I am now - evolution is occurring daily.

02-28-2007, 09:45 AM
I'm often amased by the (photo)realistic style. Though I ask myself if they're really amused, perhaps they are pleased and satisfied with the result. But I find creating or at least trying to work realisticaly is not relaxing.
I was working on a oilpainting years ago, trying to paint it as real as I could. I ended up with half a painting and I was really bored by it. Since then I experimented and looked at a totally different style, the very colorfull "one stroke paining" style of Ballestar. I decided to use my abandoned work as an experiment and I smashed totaly different colorfull strokes to it. It amased me and it was amusing. The result pleases me more than before. I have the feeling this style is more me.
So what I've learned so far is that you really have to turn the wheel from time to time, exploring a totally different way and you might like it.
Though I would like to admit my change in direction is partly because I'm technically not perfect enough for the realistic style and that could be a reason for not really find it amusing and relaxing. Maybe when I get better technically I may tend to realistic art again, who knows.

Piper Ballou
02-28-2007, 10:45 AM
Kat- I agree, and I think that is the important part of being an artist, looking back to where you were, and not having a plan to where you are going.
The only thing I decided about my art is, for now, I was going to stick with pastels, and see what would happen, not try other mediums for a while and as my love affair with pastels continues I do not think I will try anything else for a long time.
It is so much fun and such a learning experience to go back and look at some of your earlier pieces, one can really see the growth and I imagine the style has changed some over time

02-28-2007, 10:55 AM
Personally I like freer work with marks that show but there's room for all styles - it would be boring if we all worked the same way :)

I like to work gesturally, to push colours a little. I prefer to work from life and 3 dimensions rather than a photo - that's what works for me.

Looking at other peoples work the stuff that appeals most emotionally is gestural, free work (is it Mang? the Scottish artist here who does wonderful free portraits) - but some photorealist stuff is absolutely amazing and though I don't want to work that way, I can enjoy it. There are people who do the most amazing luminous eyes in their cat portraits for instance (Greywaren)and I think they are gorgeous. More luminous than any photo.

Dot Hoffman
02-28-2007, 11:06 AM
I could never be a photo-realist painter, although I admire the skill it takes to do that type of work. It's just not my style and I don't have the patience for it. I tend toward impressionism, and would also like to do abstracts that focus on color. I tend to be too tight to do good abstracts -- I don't like the ones I've attempted although the first painting I ever sold was the first abstract I ever did. I just got through telling my DH that I plan to gesso over the abstracts I have and start all over -- I really dislike them that much! :rolleyes: Oh well, on to more adventures :)

02-28-2007, 11:33 AM
I admire both types of art. I'm kind of a middle of the road painter. not photo realistic and not impressionistic. I do paint rather tight and it's hard for me to loosen up. One of my favorite paintings (the one next to my log in name) is the most loose one yet. After finishing it I said it was Elizabeth Moweryish because that is the closest that I've come to one of my favorite pastel artists style. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Cindy House whose paintings of so much realistic greenery has always amazed me. I asked her for some advice and she was gracious enough to answer me and offer further insight if I had anymore questions. So in short I admire both, I can't paint in either style but I don't like to loose a style. I'm not a Wolf Kahn fan.

02-28-2007, 11:42 AM
I'm an impressionist I take from what is around me and try to
say how I feel about my subject

when I look at a piece done from a photo
I close one eye (the camera is a cyclops) it usually looks better

for me painting out in the landscape or from a model
there is more than just the image making
there is life, and for me living as a painter
is more important than getting a good image
I paint often enough to get one good one a week(IMO)
so owe nothing to the piece I work on today
it can fail or succeed, as long as I am painting

the muse only finds me when I'm at work

in the end the work has to be about you
not some slick image, unless thats what you are

02-28-2007, 12:32 PM
ooo, dan, i love that---the muse only finds you when you're at work. i LOVE that! your words? they are so true. i would like to use that line myself sometime?

i do not poo-poo using photos, i do that plenty too. but now that i've done more life drawing/plein air, i find using the photos just aren't as fun, i can't get as much info. from the photo as from real life. shadows too dark, lights too white, perspectives wonky.

peggy hit my situation--i started from photos and going to life was tough. having to 'flatten' the image myself, figure out the edges, or margins, wow, tough when the camera didn't do it for me. and if that camera makes a mistake, i did too, even when i had it in mind to change it for the better.

i don't think i could ever say 'no more using photos', that'd be ridiculous--portraits of children from life? hahaha!! no way! or a dog? horse? nope!
but somehow, having the photo makes it easy to fiddle and get too tight, where i'd rather be more sketchy. i find it more interesting to have a painting not so perfect like a photo, i seem to look at them alot more.

Susan Borgas
02-28-2007, 05:19 PM
I am enjoying this thread as I think it also gives us insight to you all as artists. It is very thought provoking and made me really think where my muse comes from when I paint. I think it comes from trying out different techniques with the medium that I am using at that time. For example when using oils for a long time I used them exactly the same way as pastels in layers. I now like using the wet into wet technique for small still-life. My recent two large oils I used many glazes with the textured layers as well. It may progress into other things like splashing the paint around….. perhaps I could use my old paintings to do that. Think of this, a landscape painting with red, yellow and purple thrown around on it with some of the previous painting showing through and call it “Fire”. Mmmmmm….now there is a thought!!! :p

The reason I use photos is because I just can’t pull up stakes and go off into other parts of the Flinders Ranges and paint that area. For those that don’t know I am part of a group that promotes that area to tourism. It has lifted my profile as an artist but so hate the administration side of it as we the artist do all that, as in treating it as a small business. That is what kills my muse! BUT living in an area where art is hard to sell out of the tourism period (it is only a small window for sales) and I want to sell art, there are some things that I have to do that isn’t always enjoyed. I won’t always be with this group as I do have other plans for my future as an artist but for now I am not quite ready to cut the umbilical cord.

Back in December I did write an article on my blog about using a reference photo. I have the photo and painting together so anyone that wants to see the result head on over to http://susanborgas.blogspot.com/2006/12/reference-photo-and-watercolour.html It will be a rare occasion that you will be able to compare my work to the photo. :evil: There are two reasons for this, one I want the art to be the focus not the comparison to the photo when I ask for C&C and number two which is the most important to me, that I am the only one that will be using that photo as a reference to paint. I am aware of artist that would like to use my reference photos hence closing that door. Lousy artist ain’t I!!! :evil: Anyway I do share some photos, just not the ones I paint!:angel:

I think it must be remembered that to be creative, photos are not just copied. I have seen some works that are inspired from a photograph that look nothing like the reference image. Lots of building up of textures, swills and dribbles. It fascinates me how some artists “see” things that I don’t and it is these times I do feel some doubt about my own work :confused: although once I start my next project, it is all forgotten.

Well I might not dribble on my canvases but I sure am doing enough of it here.:lol: :wave:

02-28-2007, 07:27 PM
Great reading here! I agree that all styles can be appreciated! My early college training was from life and I do think it helped us develop an eye. I don't have any of these (think my brother may have rescued a few) but wish I did so I could review them. I spent many years not doing any art at all because of other things going on in my life including raising two children. I wish now I had made time to paint too!

Now that my children are grown, I have time to stretch and am really interested in seeing just how far I can grow. In the process, hope to find my own "style". I want to try everything and every medium.

I don't think of any one way as better because photos are really only a reference. If the artist undertands and can utilize the elements and principles, that person can have successful works no matter what the style. We have many examples right here in WC.

I do want to loosen up, however, not to the point of total abstraction, but enough to have more of a painterly feel to my work. I do admire the work of other artists who have already achieved this level of accomplishment!


02-28-2007, 09:43 PM
Kate, this has become a very interesting forum. In general, I'm reading pastel artists to be a very eclectic group of artists willing to be tolerant of all styles of painting.

Someone asked why the term "photorealism" isn't just "realism", and the simple answer would be because "realism" is a broad term used to define any style that is "representational" - an apple looks like an apple not a blob of red, but not necessarily exactly like the apple you want to eat. Photorealism is a more defined term used for realism wherein an apple looks exactly like the apple you want to eat - how an apple looks when you take a photo of it. Impressionism is another example of realism, but in a looser manner of painting. You know that area of red is an apple, but it may or may not have all the elements of a photorealistic apple. There will be "lost and found" edges to the apple and the strokes won't be blended into one another very much (see Dan Grey's work - a wonderful example of impressionism - but no apples! :thumbsup: )

In my never to be confused with humble opinion - all styles and techniques of painting are valid. Paint your heart's desire, not what anyone else has said you must paint. I know for a fact that students return to me time and again because I don't insist upon them learning any one way of painting. I've been blessed with opportunities to learn from many different people who have varying styles, and although I personally don't paint in each of them, I understand them enough to guide students in finding their own voice - to paint their hearts desire - or I direct them to someone who can.

In today's class I have one student who is exceedingly good for my ego. She loudly proclaims she comes to me for guidance because I encourage her (and sometimes bully her, but she can take it) to push herself in ways she'd rather not go because she's already told me she wants to loosen up and paint more like Dega (not that I'm capable of teaching her to that degree, but it is good to have the art center's administrators hear her say this since their mostly open office doors are right next to our room! :lol: ). Like so many of us (me included) she'd like to take shortcuts that create in the long run more problems. She has already taken many life drawing classes and knows the benefit of painting from life, but for the last three classes she's painted from photos - one landscape that ended up very nice, but she learned to change the photo considerably to make a more pleasing composition - after trying vainly to copy it exactly. Her husband even told her to frame it, and that's something he's never done before. The next two are her grandchildren in ballet class. Her little grandson had a fabulous pose, but there was way too oooo much in the photo, and this week she started one of his older sister. This time she knew to simplify, but her figure drawing left much to be desired because she'd not first taken the time to resolve problems in a drawing. Before the end of the day, she declare "I'm not working from photos anymore! I know I can't see all I need to see, and yes, Peggy you are right. I need to draw it out first on a separte piece of paper in the same proportions as I want my painting!" She'll finish both paintings, and they will be nice because that's the kind of person she is. However, she's already said next week she's bringing a favorite bowl filled with pears to work from life because for her, it is easier and more fulfilling. Another student is working from a still life, but she wants to learn to see values more easily so all her pastels so far are monochromatic, and she is happy with that. Another did a still life that she'd started as a watercolor, but didn't bring the still life components and she says next week she'll bring them as she learned for her she needs to see the objects as much as work over a watercolor - there are so many ways to approach our work and I give these as just a few of them - each person works to their own voice, and that's the way it should be.

Every painting is an adventure that will teach us an important art lesson if we pay attention while working. The more we paint, the easier it becomes, the more we explore different means of painting, the more we know what ones make us happy in our work and which ones don't. I think painting isn't just learning the methods & techniques, but also learning about ourselves and what we are willing to do to make it happen in a pleasing to us manner. I strive to please myself first even if others don't necessarily like it. As many others have pointed out, ask yourself the "why" do I paint?, then follow that direction.

Addressing painting for sales can be a topic for another time or forum. Sometimes painting for sales and painting for yourself are two different things. :eek:


03-01-2007, 02:55 PM
Hooray for Peggy:

Painting for 'fun' and painting as a professional, where your living depends on your ability to generate income, are two different career choices. I think the art schools have borrowed a course from the 'med' schools - 'Arrogance 101' - 'I'm going to paint what I want and you can take it or leave it!' Fine, if you are painting as a hobby, to relieve tensions from your other job, or other fun menu but if you want to put bread on the table, you had better be concerned with the wishes of the art purchasing public! And as a professional, that applies to whether abstacts are selling today, or impressionist, realism /whatever - an artist today, must be flexible!

The nice part of the business is that we are all different and our likes and desires are varied, therefore there is room for realist, impressionist, abstact painters, etc.

Do your thing and see what happens - you can always throw a can of 'Home Depot' enamel on it and you will be another Pollack!.........'bluefish':cool:

03-01-2007, 03:17 PM
Do your thing and see what happens - you can always throw a can of 'Home Depot' enamel on it and you will be another Pollack!.........'bluefish':cool:

But only if you first mix it with salad oil so it will eventually slide right off the canvas! :evil: You reminded me of the art fair children's activity of putting a paper on a spinning table and dripping paint on it to see what design randomly happens. My kids loved doing this when they were grade school age!

David Patterson
03-01-2007, 03:24 PM
You reminded me of the art fair children's activity of putting a paper on a spinning table and dripping paint on it to see what design randomly happens. My kids loved doing this when they were grade school age!

So what the heck is wrong with that???? Those are some of my best paintings!:lol:


PS - Great verbiage in this thread guys!

03-01-2007, 04:07 PM
So what the heck is wrong with that???? Those are some of my best paintings!:lol:


PS - Great verbiage in this thread guys!

Oh absolutely nothing wrong with that David! As I'm sure you know I meant. Pollack should have been so lucky as to have had that when he was a boy.. :lol: Another favorite of my children was to use their father's French curves to make designs that could be colored in many different ways. Needless to say, my kids have never had a problem with using their imaginations and enjoying art of all types. They all took my calligraphy for kids classes too... a very "tight" way of working beautiful letters! Today, most of the art hanging on their walls is representational so they've come full circle too. or maybe it is because they can hang my work for free, and that's what mine are now! :lol:

K Taylor-Green
03-01-2007, 09:54 PM
It's been great reading the different ideas and opinions and finding out the "whys" behind the different styles of paintings.
Who knows, one of these days I just might paint the fleas on a dog!

03-01-2007, 09:57 PM
It's been great reading the different ideas and opinions and finding out the "whys" behind the different styles of paintings.
Who knows, one of these days I just might paint the fleas on a dog!

Well Kate, for your dog's sake I hope those fleas are "virtual"! :lol: Somehow I can't imagine your dogs having fleas any more than I can my dogs having them.

03-04-2007, 01:25 AM
I'm a painting the flea on the dog artist and I'm not afraid to admit it. :) I've tried other styles and found that more impressionistic styles don't fit me.

One other thing I've noticed - when I do what I'm good at and what I like, people are impressed with the resulting paintings. When I try alternate styles just because it's in fashion, my paintings end up looking rather pedestrian and blah. So, it's in my best interest to go around painting those fleas! :)

What I have noticed as I progress. though, is, I'm no longer trying to paint every hair as I did a few years ago. What I am doing, is painting the illusion of every hair...it ends up looking more realistic in the end anyway. :)

-- Linda

03-04-2007, 10:33 PM
I paint very realistic because that's the way I like it!! Since I never had any formal art training, I was raised in England during World War 2 and we were lucky to have a school to go to, but there was no time for art. I didn't start painting until I was 50 years old because I never knew that I could paint. So when I did, it was things that I could see and not something that came from my imagination!

03-05-2007, 04:46 AM
I like my paintings to look like what they are suposed to be, photo realism is awsome but even though I have the patience I quite honestly couldn't be bothered, I'm just too lazy:) I have to admit to sometimes feeling guilty about using photos because 'you're not suposed to'. I like to paint the subjects I paint and they are usually from photos, I don't do still life or landscapes, mostly animals or people. I paint colours that aren't there in my subjects because I like colour and I suppose that is the beginning of some sort of style. I have tried to loosen up and be painterly but I generally get much the same result as I would normally and I am happy a long as I like the result.

03-06-2007, 11:08 AM
There is absolutely nothing wrong with painting from photos, Deanna! Especially when you are doing people or animals! The pesky things tend to move on ya.

But at some point your painting becomes your own, not merely a representation of the photo. An artist selects what to represent and how, whether photo or real life. It's neat that you are experimenting with color. I love color, too, and a lot of times, I will choose a color because it expresses the subject best for me. Sounds like you are having fun.

I think art is about expressing how we see and experience what is around us or meaningful to us in some way. We each have our way of doing that, and one of the things I love about art is being given the opportunity to see things through someone else's perception. The diversity of styles is a richness. I try things I see others doing, and sometimes it merges into my own developing style. I am constantly learning from people whose styles and perspectives are very different from mine.

Dayle Ann

03-06-2007, 07:01 PM
In Alla Prima, Richard Schmidt talks about never using a photo as a reference. He eshews it and put's it down passionately and if I remember correctly says it impedes the progress you could get being outside. I think when I use photo's as a reference I get overly detailed and flea on a dog style painting. My roommate who is an art student feels it's difficult to loosen up and paint from real life and that is where the real challenge is as well as having your perception more accurate. Photo's can not reveal everything you would normally see, so for me if I use photo's I get anal. If I don't my art looks loose and funny because I have not mastered it. If I could do that well, I'd feel 'advanced'. But I did get insulted alittle when my Richard Schmidt put down painting from a photo because that is all I do and I think I loose seom spontenaiety in my paintings because of it. I don't see anything wrong with flea on a dog, but there seems to be a push in loosing up.

03-06-2007, 09:19 PM
I think it also has to do with one's taste, I mean I personally prefer paintings that are extremely detailed and "photorealistic". Other people prefer the impressionistic style and loose paintings. I mean, there's people who prefer abstracts and don't comprehend why someone would want to paint a scene at all! :) We're all going to advocate the style that appeals to us most.

-- Linda