Can You Practice Restraint?
“The beginner in painting begins by copying nature in all literalness, leaving nothing out and putting nothing in. By and by, he will learn to omit the superfluous, grasp the essentials and arrange them into a more powerful and significant whole.”
I am currently reading the book Carlson’s Guide to Landscape Painting, and I can’t recommend it enough. His preface was already a wealth of information.
The particular quote above stood out to me, because so often as artists, we think that the more we put in- the more detail, brushstrokes, and shapes- the better out painting will be. In fact, the opposite can occur. All those things can actually obscure the true statement that your painting is trying to share. Bad paintings are usually so overloaded with useless detail, that the essentials and the big broad relationships have been ignored.
Next time you paint, ask yourself, ” What can I leave out?”