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Monday, October 13, 2008

The Power Of Suggestion

Miles Davis

Impressionists played with light in their paintings. We see light, not the absense thereof.

So I paint highlights. It gives me kind of an advantage, using a black surface. I can just suggest the image. I'm not painting the entire thing. The vinyl does a great deal of the work for me.

This is the first of hopefully a series of pieces for a fellow who loves the Blue Note recordings done at Van Gelder Studio, some of the best funk jazz ever.

I get a little nervous painting fabric and instruments, as faces are more recognizable. I received a comment on an old post which I responded to, thinking I'd probably write a post about this idea. Humans recognize faces first. We're so good at it we see faces when there isn't one really there. Just a hint of the 2 eyes, nose, mouth configuration and we finish the face in our minds.

Suggestion. Just the suggestion of a face is enough.

Another issue is the recognizability of the image I use. When I use an image that "everybody knows", like the Lennon I did last week, our culture has done a great deal of the work for me. The iconic image makes it easier to get past the "who's that?" question and go straight to "that's cool!" Our minds don't even realize we do it. If I accurately suggest the image, you don't think about it at all.

This isn't to say that it's easier to paint a face, or to paint an image that everybody recognizes. I do have to do it accurately, and when everybody knows that face, it's easier to criticize. But it is only a suggestion, an editted version of reality. In fact, the more I edit, the more I leave to you to fill in with your imagination and memory, the more likely it'll look "right" to you.

Certainly makes for a dramatic impact when you see the light.

Peace.

SOLD - Miles Davis 10/13/08

3 comments:

Shanoon Hoon said...

Good lesson.
But a famous face it's easier to criticize as you said. You can paint a trumpet and no one (not a musician) is going to criticize you.
But Lennon face, Marilyn face.. are always criticable. So you´re really good because is almost impossible criticize your famous-faces work.
By the way, is easy for you to paint with highlights a hand? .. I can´t

d.edlen said...

Thank you! I appreciate that.

I wouldn't say it's easy. I have a long-developed skill. I've been creating art since I was 6 and never really stopped. I was fortunate enough in my circumstances to have the opportunity to discover my talent and refine it into skill. I think most recently, my figure sculpture lessons further refined my ability so that I almost feel I am sculpting the faces.

d.edlen said...

Hands are definitely difficult. I think my eye has been influenced by Rodin's sculptures with strong exaggeration, but it is hard to create the shading.