Artist Paint Application and Personal Flair

Application & Personality:
By Ron Gribble

Artist Paint ron gribble school paints

If you cannot do more than a photograph, then why take a photograph in the first place and save yourself a lot of time and agony!

This is to a large degree my personal opinion, but it is also the opinion of many top art judges who allocate points to what they call "application" and "flair".

In brief, how was the Paint or other medium applied? With confidence? Accurately but boldly? Can we see the artist's personality in the way he applies the medium? Does this application contribute to the over-all mood of the work?
Lets look at a portrait for example. Is it rendered with brush strokes that are bold and angular to depict movement, or youth, or vertical and horizontal to depict a more conservative subject?

I often see work that is very well done, but too photographic. The artist has used too little personal flair. This is a real problem when painting a portrait of a person or animal, that has to be absolutely accurate. Try one or all of the following;

After you have achieved the likeness needed, go back over the work and "loosen it up".

That is, stroke in big and bold impasto strokes in places to take away the fiddly little brush details. Cover small brush strokes with larger ones, medium strokes with bigger and big strokes with even bigger ones. Take care, because there are places that you will just have to leave fiddly to retain the likeness, as in the eyes for example.

Soften up an area or two so that the main subject blends with the background. Take detail out of the areas that are not of immediate interest, such as towards the corners.    I have used a portrait as an example, but the same thing applies to everything, including landscapes.

Happy Painting 
Ron Gribble
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