3 Artists Tips Getting the Most Mileage out of Your Favorite Subject

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When you’re in a creative rut, it’s hard to find the inspiration to get out of it. That’s why we’ve asked 3 amazing artists for their tips on how to work with certain subjects.

Landscape – Jerry N. Weiss

Spend some time drawing the figure from life, as this will sharpen one’s draftsmanship and powers of observation. Many trips to the museum are recommended, to study the masters and become familiar with the traditions of landscape painting. Finally, it’s necessary to paint en plein air, not because it’s such a popular endeavor these days, but because there’s a spirit to working in the open air, standing in front of the motif, that can’t be duplicated in the studio or from photographs.

You may have profound feelings about your rose garden or your child’s baby shoes. How can you express that without painting an exact re-creation? You can abstract from them to create a painting that expresses how you feel about the roses or any other subject.

Abstract – Betsy Dillard Stroud

All good art comes from observation. Your own expression of that observation will enable you to delete and refine aspects of that subject by abstracting it. Think about the essence of what you are painting : Decide what your abstractions are really about; ask yourself questions. Are they about color? Texture? Line? Subject matter? How can I express what I feel about that subject? And, perhaps your goal is just to experiment. That’s great, and the more you experiment, the more you will develop your own recognizable style of painting abstractions. Abstraction is a lot like poetry. It is a distillation and a précis of personal expression.

Still Life/Interior – Jaye Schlesinger

Try to refrain from overly used subject matter. Choose objects that have a particular interest to you. Think outside the box in terms of composition.  Try different vantage points; play with scale, cropping, and unconventional groupings. When setting up a still life, light your posed object(s) using a single light source, preferably upper left. And simplify—sometimes less is more.

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