I wish I would have paid better attention to my art teachers when they were talking about perspective. And not the teacher who said, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” That only helped me justify drawings that didn’t turn out well. I mean the perspective discussions that may have helped me with the painting I’m working on right now. That guy over there>
Let me start by saying this is a cute dog. Look at that face! But as an art subject, it’s a challenge. First, he’s all black. Of course, nothing is totally black (look close, you’ll see blue! Brown! Rose! I promise.) But I’ve painted lots of black dogs and so I’m not worried. Then there’s the issue of hair. My style of watercolor lends itself very naturally to short-haired dogs like labs, but I’ve painted poodles before! Chimpanzees! Not a problem.
The challenge is in the perspective. When you look at the photo, you know automatically what’s going on. There’s this super cute dog looking up cutely at the person that’s taking the photo. Maybe that’s because we’ve all taken a photo like this of our dog, cat, kids, anything shorter than us. So it’s easy for us to instantly recognize the perspective.
Now, let’s apply the same challenge to the medium of paint. Transparent watercolor, no less.
In order for a painting to read correctly, you have to take some artistic license. Make some areas a little darker than they might appear in a photo, others a little lighter. There are some generic rules to follow, but sometimes I feel like I am striking out into new territory with the paper I use, Yupo, which can be a little unruly.
After each version I pass the painting in front of my reluctant critic (husband) who is amazingly accurate and insightful when it comes to these things. He is somehow able to verbalize what my gut is telling me but my brain is not seeing yet. (Although, darlin’, you could lay off words like “sophomoric” in the future. If you don’t mind.)
So I’m still working on this little painting and I think I’ll have it all figured out by the time I turn in tonight. Otherwise, I will be doing brushstrokes in my sleep.