Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Look Three Times. Think Twice. Paint Once.

As I've been painting this little girl's portrait and working to get her likeness, I have recalled a statement that Paul Souza, one of my teachers at art school, used to say - "Look three times, think twice, paint once".  We were encouraged to do a lot of looking and thinking about our subject before we ever put any paint on canvas.  He wanted to make sure we were really looking at the model and not making things up or assuming we knew how to paint what was in front of us. 

Detail from a portrait in progress

Below are some examples of work I did in his portrait class.  (a few decades ago!)

16" x 12"   Oil and pencil on shellacked  board

24" x 18"   Charcoal on paper

24" x 18"   Charcoal on paper

And I'll never forget the time he came by my easel while I was painting in class and remarked that my palette was more interesting than my painting.  (He could be tough.)  What he meant was that I had overworked my painting and had painted all the life out of it whereas my palette was painterly and the color mixtures were vibrant.

Here's a photo of my palette while working on a painting recently.  Maybe Mr. Souza was on to something.

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