Breakfast Color

30 Paintings in 30 Days

Day 17

17-Breakfasst Color

“Breakfast Color”

10″ x 8″ Original watercolor on watercolor paper.


Often people ask me how I decide what to paint. I had to give that question some thought and finally came up with a few elements that catch my eye:

  1. Color: I’m a push-over for color, the brighter and more vivid the better, and is the #1 reason I select a subject to paint.  An artist can’t paint only flowers, fruit or beach umbrellas every time, but it would be fun. I guess that explains my love for abstract art which seems to rely heavily on color without struggling with an identifiable subject or story.
  2. Line: Let’s see….how do I explain this element? Often a photo or an actual scene will display a strong line of direction, not precisely composition, just a beautiful line. (That’s not a good explanation!!)
  3. Story: Scenes depicted in photos or real life that tell a compelling story attract my attention. Fine art does not have to tell a story, but in my opinion it is helpful. I remember a comment my oil painting professor in college once said during a critique. He was speaking to a fellow student artist, who had just complained about the professor’s critique. Bad idea! The professor angrily told the student that a painting should not require an explanation or a story, but must stand on its own. I’ll always remember that comment, but I still like story. The student then tried to get sympathy by telling the professor that he had stayed up until 2 AM painting it, to have it ready for the critique. Another bad idea! The professor said, “No one cares, or should care, how long you worked on a painting. No one!” And I’ll now add, no one should care how fast you can create a painting or drawing, either. The painting or drawing stands on its own.
  4.  People/faces:  There is more information in a human face or form than any other subject I can think of. I’m  amazed how one subtle brush or pencil stroke can entirely change the mood or character of the person. Paintings/drawings of people usually do not require a story or much color, for that matter.
  5. Composition:  I add this element only to say why it is not generally a consideration in selecting a subject. I create my own composition as I go; that’s why I like painting/drawing better than photography. I can make it look like I wish it looked and dream on!
  6. Marketability: Early in my painting life, “painting for the market”, as they say, was of great importance. Not anymore. I’ve sold enough art through the years to learn that I can not predict why people buy which art.

Once in a while I get brave and ignore all the above and try something new and difficult. It soon turns into too much work, so I usually struggle to complete it, or discard it.

I could go on, but these are the highlights concerning my selections. And to think that I was worried about what in the world I would blog about three peaches and a honeydew melon.

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