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Monday Motivator: A Picture is Not About a Subject

By February 18, 2013

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Painting Monday Motivator Quote
"A picture is not about a subject, the subject is merely an impetus to give voice to the problem or experiment the artist selected to be solved, the personal challenge."-- Skip Whitcomb

Source: "A Lifetime to Understand and Paint Nature", Plein Air Magazine, January 2013, page 24.
Pause to think what attracts you to what you've decided to paint. The challenge of the composition or perspective? The color mixing? The difference to what you last painted? The desire to get what wasn't as you'd visualized it last time? Creative problem solving, aka painting.

Photo Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.


February 18, 2013 at 1:48 am
(1) Yover says:

In fact, in light of the above, painting is not just a matter of sensitive approach, but an intellectual approach too. “Creative problem solving” like geometry problems ! It is a way of saying that painters,as writers philosophers or mathematicians are also intellectuals. It is a way too to say that we are full citizens who think and can open new avenues thanks to our art: a way of belonging fully to our complex modern world. For me, a sentence sums up all: “He was a thinking and feeling being, a soul and a body, a mind and hands.” ( in EnergieS number 12, The challenges of energy security)

February 18, 2013 at 2:51 am
(2) Marion BE says:

I think it’s why painting is so absorbing; it engages our minds and senses on different levels simultaneously.

February 18, 2013 at 5:44 am
(3) tina jones says:

I’ve often had the desire to take a color that doesn’t strike me as obviously beautiful, and find out what makes it so. What puts it in it’s best light? Raw Sienna is a wall flower of a color to me, but in a range of yellows and next to a black that is a fully saturated violet with marks of Cerulean, it shines glorious.
It’s a lot like finding a quiet person, then discovering what makes them sing or dance. The subject is the vehicle that facilitates the dance. The dance is what I want to paint.

February 18, 2013 at 10:34 am
(4) Anne says:

A painting depicts what is going on within the artist. Often an artist will depict what he/she is feeling and the subject is only a means to show that.
My art professor in college used to say, “Renoir could love a lemon.
I want you to paint that way”.

February 18, 2013 at 1:57 pm
(5) Yover says:

I often tell myself:” Don’t let yourself fall under the spell of your own works. The purpose to reach was somewhere else, outside of sentimentality; close to a mental rebus to solve”. But as Ulysse, it’s not so easy to withstand the siren songs. Wah ! Heady self-complacency ! I’m ashamed, but occasionally, just occasionally. Unfortunately. Poor me !

February 21, 2013 at 3:31 pm
(6) Lida van Bers says:

For me texture and colour are my objects.

February 21, 2013 at 10:13 pm
(7) Johanna Prinsloo says:

For me the idea is the importance. Why do you want to do and how do you you want to do it. The process is so important. Especially with a self portrait because you are already part of it. It is so much more difficult with a portrait of someone else because the demand is so much more academic.

February 22, 2013 at 1:57 am
(8) James Allan Kennedy says:

The painting always finds the artist. It’s never the other way round. I must have over five hundred paintings and sketches in my studio and I haven’t painted one of them. When I try to painting something it’s always a mess. And then at sometime, day or night, a painting comes knocking on the door and the next day there it is, part of the family.

March 3, 2013 at 7:05 am
(9) Els says:

Spring is coming, and the beauty of nature cryes out to make a picture of the reflaction of the impression it makes on your soul .

March 4, 2013 at 6:35 pm
(10) kuly says:

well for me,..sorry i’ve never made any comment before now… i think what i paint shows a pit of my character and most atimes the feelings i have towards what i paint shows in the colours i make use of though i do this unconsciously. i just find myself guilty of that …i mean, what i paint is being influenced by my first contact with that subject, how i felt about it, what i heard someone say about it,etc.paintings carry some personalities of the painter.

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