Carole Huber Art Blog
Everything Seems So Insistent Leave out anything that distracts from your composition. This is a luxury that painters enjoy over photographers. Once your eye finds the focal point of your painting, everything else must be subsumed. I try to go with my first impression and start to work rapidly on the elements that made me want to paint my subject in the first place. Some painters plan with all sorts of conventional composition formulas in mind, but I find this stultifying. When I was a professor, I couldn't lecture from notes. If I did so, my class became deadly boring. I needed a free exchange of ideas to discover the truth of my lecture. And new truths undoubtedly. When I go out to paint, I try to turn off my thinking processes and paint according to the vigor of my first impression. Pierre Bonnard said something like a painting well composed is already half painted. I know for certain that no amount of gorgeous color can make up for a poor composition. My compositions come about by the same dialogue that directed my former lectures. When I am preparing to paint, I will walk about until something directs me to question its insistence that we communicate. Once I am in from of this bully or seductress, whichever you prefer, I try to feel what it so compelling. This is my composition because my focal point has announced itself. We enter into dialogue. My task becomes to make its surroundings cede to it, this marvel that wants to reveal itself to me. Paul Cezanne talks about painters being able to discover things never before seen in Nature. This intimate dialogue between the painter and his subject is unique, pulsating with life if he allows his own nature to respond fully in an idiosyncratic way. If you have difficulty finding a focal point, try thinking of your painting as an experiment in memory. Look intently. Close your eyes. Try to recall with your eyes closed what was your strongest impression. Do this twice more and three is the charm. Then, open your eyes and try to paint with vigor your first impressions without stopping to think. Hold nothing back. Make mistakes. That's why we have palette knives--to scrape off the effluvia of enthusiasm.