Photophobia

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7 out 10 artist suffer from Photophobia. This career-ending infection invades the artist early in their career, slowing their development and in some cases prevents them from even starting a career. It can keep one out of competitions and galleries if left untreated. It can manifest itself in other forms of painting - like Plein Air. It first attacks the editing ability of an artists thinking, then easily spreads. One will be out in the field painting and simply be unable to leave something entirely unnecessary to the work off the canvas.

A barn with ten windows and a tree in front can look great in a photo or in person, yet doesn't transfer well to canvas. Even a great photo needs editing. An artists skills should tell him what needs editing.  A photo of a man writing at a desk can make for a great painting when one doesn't suffer from Photophobia. For example, in the photo, we know the man has four fingers and a thumb even though we see only three fingers on each hand due to objects blocking our view of them. However, perhaps due to the style of painting the artist uses, the man appears to have just three fingers on each hand. Little things like too many windows in a barn or too few fingers on a hand can keep one out of a competition and a gallery. 

Photophobia affects design and composition. Being afraid to change anything about the photo can destroy the design of a painting - and design is of utmost importance to an artist. A good design holds the viewer's interest, keeps the painting fresh looking and full of life. Artists become slaves to photos and the fear of altering them. They carry that thinking into the field and into the studio with them. I once saw a friend destroy a wonderful on-the-spot painting in the studio by corrections he believed necessary because of the photo he took of the subject. Believing the photo always to be the best way of capturing a subject can prevent one from developing as an artist.  

 

Ghost of Childhood

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Sitting on the porch watching kids play in the street running in and out the warm rays of the setting sun I sketch and dream of possible paintings. The downy tufts of dandelions bring back my own days of playing in the street, running wild for no other reason than to be running. Swiping at the dandelions as we race up over the curb, nearly crashing through a hedge into forbidden territory owned by the most misunderstood dog in the neighborhood. His barks were pleas to include him in the games we played. We were warn that he would bite if we get too close, but his rope broke one afternoon and all he did was chase after the soft ball we played with. He surrendered it to the first extended hand then backed up waiting for the next hit to come his way. He was also included when we split a Hersey bar... His mistress still warned us to keep out of his yard though. 

I sketched the kids playing and thought about my friends now grown with grandkids. Like so many of my sketches, they were a mix of the kids in the street and the ghost of my lost childhood. I think of Josephine and what she might be doing in Arkansas. These good thoughts and feeling will play into the painting on my easel, even if the subject has nothing to do with what I'm sketching. Sketching enhances my senses. Though I may be drawing a tree or an old shed, once I reach the zone I need for creating, it will help with whatever I choose to paint. 

I sketch a girl leaning against a tree and suddenly I see another girl I had a crush on 60 some years ago appearing in my sketch. Tomorrow I'll look at the sketches, and some older ones, to charge the juices that will carry me through my still-life of carnations.