May 02, 2005

Painting On Squares

Finkbuilt » Blog Archive » Paint by numbers

Finkbuilt has a little piece on using a technique I've always called "grid painting", creating a grid to allow you the ability to see the whole painting as a series of smaller parts. But in all the years I've been making art, this is one technique I haven't used, and I knew few people who did. I'm certainly not knocking it -- if it works, ignore me and my biases -- but I've never heard of it being generally used. I might use it as an underpainting technique at best, but not for the whole.

My best theory on why grid methods aren't commonly used, is that most artists want to paint seeing the whole of the painting, rather than as parts. By concentrating on the whole painting, the artist sees what the viewer will see, which is what is important. The grid method focuses the artist towards individual parts.

Maybe it's better expressed like this: I've been taught, and firmly believe, that when you're doing an artistic piece, the artist should try not to concentrate on one part until it's finished, but work on the painting as a whole. When I first heard this, I thought it had to do with how if you do a really good job on that one part, the rest may not live up to that part, and you'll get disappointed. Nope, that's just me.

No, it's a little different from that. As an artist create a piece, if one part is very good, he or she is going to try to match the rest of the painting to that piece, and will hesitate to change that part, subconsciously. When the artist isn't willing to destroy anything on a piece that doesn't fit in with the cohesive whole, the piece won't work.

Posted by Ted Stevko at May 2, 2005 01:05 AM | TrackBack