'Joy on Canvas' Specializing in large scale expressive paintings.
Cart 0

Connecting With Your Subject Matter

Painting By Andrew Wyeth – American Master Artist  (1917-2009)

Written by Jill Saur

The best way to connect with others through your art, is if you're connected to what you're expressing.  Let me use Andrew Wyeth as an example.

Andrew Wyeth was the quintessential example of a true American artistic genius. He was my favorite American Artist.  Andrew’s disciplined artistic journey began as a young boy. His respect for the human spirit never wavered.  Andrew Wyeth once said, I search for the realness, the real feeling of a subject, all the texture around it, I always want to see the third dimension of something.  I want to come alive with the object.Wyeth's desire was to capture a moment, not a frozen moment, but a fleeting moment. 

Obviously, the best way to capture a fleeting moment is to paint en plein air (the act of painting outdoors with the artist's subject in full view), setting up a still-life, or working with a live model.  For the sake of convenience, many artists work from a photograph.

When you're painting from a photograph, it's important to know the difference between a frozen moment and a fleeting moment. It's the fleeting moment that exudes feeling!  As an artist, if you're going to paint from a photo, try to paint from your own photo.  If you were compelled to pick up your camera, it's because something grabbed you that you wanted to remember and share with others.  If you take a photo of a sunrise over the ocean, you're going to remember the smell of the saltwater and the warmth of the sun on your face.  The feelings you experience in those fleeting moments are going to translate into your work as long as you stay connected to those feelings.  

On rare occasions, if I don't have a photo of something I want to paint, I use a copyright free image.  I only do that if I'm deeply connected with the subject matter and I'm not able to take the photo myself.   People can spot a phony a mile away and don't be mistaken, people can tell the difference between a painting that's wrought with feeling and a painting that's manufactured.  If I'm presenting my feelings to the world through my art, I better have feelings and they better be translatable through every stroke and nuance of color.

© 2016 - Jill Saur, Jill Saur Fine Art LLC.