|Imagine taking the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles as your painting subject.
The space is so vast, and the layout so repetitive, that it almost
becomes an abstract composition as you break down the forms.
After developing an unnatural dependency on my galoshes and stocking my kitchen shelves with an outrageous amount of sugary sweets in case of snowstorms, I’ve come to realize that it is nice to be on the inside, cozy and warm, looking out. My creature comforts appreciation has definitely also influenced the kind of painting composition that I’ve been into lately: the interior.
Interiors are fascinating because they are so uniquely human. There are many universal elements to how we organize and decorate our space, but each space is unique to every individual as well. And just think about all the cool rooms out there. The Oval Office, the mirrored splendor of a Versailles ballroom, or even the rustic intimacy of a living room with a blazing fireplace—all of them have so much atmosphere, and yet the visual points of interest of each is decidedly different and deciding how to paint each of them is a strongly creative endeavor. From what vantage point should you work? What details to include? What colors?
Another kind of room that I’m always interested in exploring is artist studios. I’ve gone to preserved historic studios as well as to the working studios of painters that are alive, well, and making art right now. The mood and emotion of every studio is totally unique, and that makes visiting them pure pleasure. Artists often have little time to actually work, so traveling to your subject off-site isn't always worthwhile. Instead, painting what is right in front of you can be a boon, so the next time you are struggling for a subject matter consider painting your own environment!
|This painting by Darlene Brown is of the artist's
studio and is in the style of Henri Matisse.
Incredibly varied settings can really liven up an artist's outlook, especially in the heart of winter. So if the opportunity presents itself, visit other artists' studios, or maybe just reorganize your own space to freshen up your outlook. And when it comes time to pick up the brush, I hope you'll be ready to go with renewed energy. To help you on your way, get great tips from Patti Mollica's latest DVDs: Brushwork Techniques, Value Techniques, and Color Techniques ! Enjoy!