Friday, February 24, 2012

worth a thousand words

Write what you know is the mantra for any wannabe writer, but in art, we are encouraged to draw and paint what we see, not what we know. My brain has been at odds over these seemingly opposing ideas, but I am realizing they are not so different after all. To do either requires an examination of the subject, and then the representation of it can be in words or pictures. Today's watercolor class had us practicing the various ways we could use painting techniques to portray moving water. The photograph of a tiered stone fountain whose top spire spewed forth foamy white stuff that sprayed onto the larger tiers beneath then splash landed in the pool surrounding the base was harder for me to paint than to tell about. However it was art class, so I had to attempt to describe it visually using the tools of color, shape, angle, value and shadowing, not only the intricate, lacy water but also the the fountain and pool. Furthermore I had to place it against a background that would artistically complement it. It would take a long time to read about the boring details of the scene, but a painting could be quickly observed and the idea transmitted. Either way requires a deeper look.

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