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Old 09-29-2019, 06:34 PM
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Armadillobelly Armadillobelly is offline
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Painting from observation stunts creativity?

Has anyone else experienced something like this? I was taught to paint only what I see in front of me, and this appears to have stunted my ability to create a painting without a direct reference. I am mainly interested in work involving figures. But I lack the studio space required to hire a model. Without someone standing in front of me I’m lost. And painting from photos is always an exercise in disappointment. How do others do it?
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Old 09-29-2019, 09:20 PM
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Re: Painting from observation stunts creativity?

I am a realist painter- although I do make adjustments to the paintings to tell the story- I don't paint from imagination.
I have been part of a life-drawing group for many years. It's on once a fortnight (wish it was more often) This helps to train my eye and hand for my figure paintings.
I draw people while sitting at a cafe or other outside areas where people may sit for a while. This helps to draw quickly and get the gesture of the person.
I also do a lot of paintings from photos- I take hundreds! I do love to paint people just out and about.
I don't have a studio- I use the "dining" area to paint in.
When I am painting a particular idea for a series I will ask people to sit for me. I pay the going rate.
I set the models up at various areas around the house. You just need some adjustable lights on a stand, a variety of large fabric pieces for backdrops and a tripod for the camera. A portable easel to do quick sketches as they sit.
I use these sketches as well as the photos to paint from.
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Old 09-30-2019, 05:51 AM
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Re: Painting from observation stunts creativity?

I paint the figure almost solely from my imagination, with brief periods of observational work to learn more stuff maybe once or twice a year. I don't always get it exactly right and my paintings certainly aren't perfect, but I accept that because it is more important to me that I don't copy.

At school I was taught to paint still lifes put out in front of me but I actually wanted to paint epic dragon battles and sea monsters, so I was drawing from my imagination whenever I had the chance to open my sketchbook for five minutes. I used to walk home from school drawing. I walked into the side of a phonebox once.

Going back to the figure, I know off by heart how many heads long each part of the body is, and I learned where the muscles go, where the bends are and how they work. I learned in which cases the skin reflects nearby skin and in which cases it doesn't. I'm sure you know all of these things too.

I keep a Moleskine sketchbook just for drawing the figure from imagination and, on the first few pages, I copied out some proportion and muscle diagrams. In the rest of the book I only draw from my imagination. Initially I used to check back to the first diagrams to "mark" my work and see where I went wrong, but now I don't need to. If I want to paint a very complicated pose, I'll look at a reference, describe it out loud (I learn best if I hear myself saying it), put it away and then draw a line drawing in my sketchbook. If it looks realistic I'm happy with that, if not I bring the reference out again and compare.

It's a matter of practising, accepting that you're going to fail to begin with, and having the confidence to just go for it anyway
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Old 09-30-2019, 06:17 PM
ianuk ianuk is offline
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Re: Painting from observation stunts creativity?

Everything is from observation, even memory.
Not sure about imagination, I can't comment on that.
I'm not sure abstract requires any observation.

Last edited by ianuk : 09-30-2019 at 06:27 PM.
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Old 09-30-2019, 07:21 PM
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Re: Painting from observation stunts creativity?

New on the matter but here is my response. Since I started to draw from observation, I feel confident to build form the objects around me, working on the strokes that gradually give a sense of texture and shading. Stun? No, no of all. I just let it go. If I do a mistake to make it precise from the observation, I let my creativity take care of it! 😊 I go with the flow. Finished but not perfect, Jake Parker – go watch his videos if you are interested to refill your creative bank account .
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Old 10-01-2019, 11:46 AM
tiago.dagostini tiago.dagostini is offline
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Re: Painting from observation stunts creativity?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Armadillobelly
Has anyone else experienced something like this? I was taught to paint only what I see in front of me, and this appears to have stunted my ability to create a painting without a direct reference. I am mainly interested in work involving figures. But I lack the studio space required to hire a model. Without someone standing in front of me I’m lost. And painting from photos is always an exercise in disappointment. How do others do it?




The paint what you see is one of the most badly used sentences in history of paint/drawing teaching. Paint what you see is, learn and understand by what your eyes teach you!



If you restrict yourself to REPRODUCE ONLY what you see you are just a bad copy machine. What you see gives you the information you need to paint properly. When you learn to SEE, not only look, you will understand the form, where the light comes from, the temperature, the contrast etc... That allows you to understand... and you can draw/paint well only when you understand!


Creativity is limited by your knowledge.
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Old 10-01-2019, 05:19 PM
DaveCrow DaveCrow is offline
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Re: Painting from observation stunts creativity?

Charles Reid had a book entitled "Painting What You ^Want to See".

I have fallen in love with plein air landscape painting. It is definitely painting from observation. However I find within it great room for observation and interpretation. I can, and do, rearrange elements to make a better composition. I will choose what I emphasize to make a better painting. I will push color and play with contacts. I love to punch up the subtle reds, yellows and oranges that appear among the greens of the landscape to give it more life. I am a painter, not a camera. I am not limited to strictly reproducing the scene in front of me.

I have also found that careful observation has aided me in studio work. When painting from photographs or imagination I have a better sense of what things really look like, and how I can capture them in paint.
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Old 10-02-2019, 07:25 PM
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Re: Painting from observation stunts creativity?

interesting question ... to which there can be no concrete answer

painting exclusively from observation is good for developing accuracy on many levels [form/color/value/comp] ... maybe not so good for free creative expression - which can take about as much practice to get it 'right' as the dedicated realist.

shrug, does it matter? so long as you're painting what you enjoy, i don't think it really matters much at all.

practice is practice, development, advancement, same same.

la
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Old 10-05-2019, 12:51 AM
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Re: Painting from observation stunts creativity?

You might consider a constructive anatomy approach to drawing. There are many easily available books on the subject - the one's by Andrew Loomis, for instance. Once you can break a figure down into its underlying geometry, it becomes much easier to pose as needed - yes, it takes considerable practice to render pictures from out of your head realistically, but you should always set your expectations accordingly.

Getting used to quick sketches and gesture drawings also helps. Its much easier to construct a picture from imagination using as wide as possible a repertoire of simplified visual references than it is a very small vocabulary of very exact details. It's much easier to decide on a simplified composition and then fill in the details later using research, references, perspective, knowledge of light, and so on.

I keep a very large repertoire of all kinds of pictures - figures, vehicles, animals, environments, textures, etc - on Pinterest, and do a little bit of sketching from it every day to familiarize myself with all kinds of visual information
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Old 10-07-2019, 05:34 PM
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Re: Painting from observation stunts creativity?

When I paint from imagination only, no reference, there is a huge difference in quality and even style of my work. I get too caught up in trying to think of how exactly to draw/paint something at a certain angle, so it's generally easier for me to look at a reference and "paint what I see". This color here, that color there, shadow there, highlight there, etc. I used to be better at drawing and painting with no references, but feel like I lost my creativity after several years of not having the time or motivation to do art. At first I didn't like needing to use a reference for every little thing, but I've pretty much accepted it now, and am gradually starting to branch out more here and there. Instead of trying to copy a large section full of small details exactly, I can be more relaxed and more at ease with just getting the gist of things, so my art is able to be accurate as far as angles and proportions, darks, and lights, but with more originality as I'm able to start to settle into my own style again. I don't try to paint photorealistically, but have still had people I know question why I'm just "copying" a photo. But using references can be very helpful, and doesn't necessarily mean what you create isn't an original piece of art. It will still have your own style/way of interpreting things.
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Old 10-09-2019, 04:14 PM
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Re: Painting from observation stunts creativity?

perhaps painting from observation only, does stunt creativity



I just went through a file of sold pieces and did a little tally

merely 13 out of 90 pieces used references - the rest were pure imagination.

i don't think 'reality' or 'accuracy' is necessarily very important at all

la


there's really no arguing in matters of vast varieties of tastes


similar size/price examples below...
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Old 10-09-2019, 05:42 PM
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Use to denote nudity/mature subject matter Re: Painting from observation stunts creativity?

Oh yeah, this is my thing too. I was taught to paint what was in front of me, but I never had anyone or thing in front of me, so I had to learn to paint without the "thing." I use animals because there is less of a problem with "pornography on the minds of some viewers" I do like to create a nude figure occasionally. I also went with animals because you are more likely to see a naked horse than a naked lady on any given day (let alone be allowed to draw her). Most of the old painters painted their wives and prostitutes.

I do a building up style (sculpture) where I do a lot of bone measurements, then muscle connections etc. so for example, this "pregnant woman" study is not done using a model, it is just imagination, but with a healthy dose of anatomy.



Same with all the sculptures, I don't use a real model. I view hundreds/ thousands of images, some real-life, some on film, and my brain puts them together as I do the art.



How do you do this? How I did it was dissections, and the memorisation of where every muscle fit to every bone in the body. So I feel that there is a line between "stunting" and corralling.

Sorry everyone who is bored with me uploading the same pictures all the time!
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Last edited by Use Her Name : 10-09-2019 at 05:52 PM.
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