Squinting - now there's an interesting painter's tool. After years and years or reading and hearing about squinting, I'm finally beginning to get it. In the still life below, squinting helped me see the three basic shapes in the subject: the can, the group of foreground flowers that swoop up and to the left and the arc of background flowers. Not only were the shapes apparent by squinting, but I could see quickly where they belonged...foreground, middle ground or background. And I was able to paint them that way. During a recent plein air session, which took place after I painted this still life, I deliberately and consistently squinted at the subject. The result was one of my more successful plein air sketches.
Squinting simplifies the subject, and shows you what's important...what detail is important and what isn't. In plein air situations in particular, squinting allows you to see light and dark patterns quickly. And when you can see shapes and light and dark in simplified form, you can see the bones of your subject and the 'plan' for your painting. And when you see that, you can see ways to alter or arrange them if needed to suit your composition. For instance, the grouping of the flowers in this still life was not actually what you see in the painting. The arrangement in the painting is the result of conscious decisions on what to leave out and what to add or just plain make up in order to build a design. You are freed from the subject in front of you
I can't wait for the next opportunity to "squint"!
|Sunflowers Oil on canvas panel 16 x 12|
My Art Site: Bruce Hancock Fine Art