Well, Bruce and Tom certainly put me in my place. They weren't buying that I'm not premeditating the marks I make on the canvas. We can add to those two Ms. M.McN., the questioner from last night, who opened up this subject in the first place.
Honest!!!! I never think about it.
But now, because of their comments, I thought about it all day at the studio.
Here's today's lousy photo, the hayloft in what will be its frame---though it's now only visiting so that I can judge the whole package. Anyway, as I was whining, this is a less-than-great photo. I actually like the painting so far.
The real answer is that I got fed up trying to make the photograph look like the painting. It has a blotchiness that is a painful reminder of my high school complexion.
An added bonus is that it shows you, via black-and-white, the importance of values, composition and drawing. They give 90% of the information the viewer receives about the painting. Yes, the color's fun. But values, composition and drawing are the workhorses, the real stars of successful paintings.
You'll see that, in order to be able to add some light near the bottom of the painting, I made up an access route with a ladder. The ladder is firmly nailed to the floor joist, and is thus completely vertical (without creating a need for guessed-at perspective).
But back to brushstrokes, where I started.
I've taken some detail shots from within this painting to illustrate a point.
In the sense that Seurat, for example, used a pointillist technique all through a painting, and with a nod to Van Gogh's brushwork, I claim, again, that I haven't an intentional program with my brushwork.
|Detail, lower right, from the Hayloft|
But it is true to say that my brushwork, for all its unintentionality, is decidedly my own.
I vary the marks, at least in my mind, depending on what I'm painting. At the moment, I stand accused of vertical marks when painting vegetation. Do I really do that? Is it annoying?
|Detail, mid-left, from the Hayloft|
(I see it's time to go back and deal with some brush hairs and some other detritus.)
The next is a view of the barn wall, to the right of the opening. You'll notice that, while the hay has very definite brushstrokes, the wall, being only a supporting actor, manages his color with nary an evident brushstroke.
I believe that there's a hierarchy within every painting. To have introduced strong brushwork into the barn walls would be to encourage the viewer to look at them. I don't want that. I want them to do their job as unobtrusively as possible. Having no evident brush razzmatazz is a good start in that direction.
|Barn wall, detail. Intentionally lightened to show colors.|
|detail from Hayloft landscape|
So, apparently, here's the story: I seem to vary my marks depending on what I'm painting and with a regard to how the object, etc., fits into the hierarchy of the composition.
But who doesn't do this? I certainly am not doing it on a conscious level. I'm just trying to paint each part appropriately, in the context of the painting.
Take it from me: don't deal with all the parts of your painting using your 'signature' brushmark. It will be excruciatingly boring, and all about look what I can do!
For now I'm going to get some sleep, resting up so that I'll be ready to defend my brushstrokes from you tomorrow.