"I feel that God's Sunlight on a single blade of grass is such a miracle and so difficult to capture in paint, it is worth a lifetime of trying" - Paul Strisik
Paul Strisik (1918-1998)
After writing about the passing of Paul Calle in last weeks blog, it caused me to reflect on that 1984 painting trip to Spain/Portugal, and the exceptional group of talented artists that participated. One of these was Paul Strisik.
North Light Books
Cherished memories of him and our conversations prompted me to reread, this week, his book "Capturing Light in Oils". It is basically a rewrite of his first book, "The Art of Landscape Painting", both of which are packed with helpful advice for the artist. All this from a fabulous artist and noted teacher.
The chapter that captured my attention is titled, "Conception and Composition".
Motif 1, Rockport
If you have been reading my blogs at all, you know that a running theme has been "painting concept". Paul Strisik identifies it as "your conception of the subject". He considers that a most important consideration...and the real measure of a painter.
The question then that must be asked is, "What do I want to communicate?" The answer to that one will most likely be found in answering this question, "What made me stop and look?"
Whenever something grabs you and you feel you must take a photo, or capture it with paint, Strisik believes it is not the details of the scene you're responding to but instead your emotional reaction to it.
You're responding to the mood...an affect of light falling upon the subject, thereby creating an irresistible combination of light, halftone, and shadow.
Eastern Light, Gloucester
The job of the artist is not to create a blueprint of the subject but rather to capture your reaction to it. If facts alone are enough, just take a photo. The camera does that pretty well, with a lot less effort.
"Your eyes don't tell you what to paint, your mind and feelings do", says Strisik. He believes it is beneficial to create smaller paintings en plein air because it forces the artist to capture the very essence of the scene without all that "additional entertainment"...detail.
So if you're an artist about to create a painting, or for you non-artists who are just looking and enjoying...ask yourself this question, "What is there in this scene that interests me?" You'll both be the better for it.
Docks, Cape Ann
Next week, I'll present some of my painting concepts.
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