Friday, April 3, 2015

Painting recipes

The Swedish watercolor guru Arne Isacsson (1917-2010) said: "Don't follow recipes!", and many of his learners like to quote him. In my opinion this advice might actually discourage some inexperienced students. You can certainly learn a lot from following a painting recipe (as long as it's not the only thing you do), because it gives you the tools you need to eventually go your own way. That might be part of why the most innovative watercolor painting is developing in China, where copying is an important part of learning. Here is a two-step illustration of how to use shadows for shapes.


Oscar Solis said...

I agree that everyone should have a starting point. I wonder if the whole thing about not following recipes was more in the context of creativity rather than technique. I do note that sometimes the don't follow recipes rule can often be used as an excuse by some to not bother learning the basics. The fact remains that certain color harmonies, certain compositions, etc. work time and time again because they have stood the test of time. Astute artists know this and use it to their advantage, often with stunning results.

Måns Sjöberg said...

I have also met a few art teachers with poor knowledge of basic techniques who seem to get away from their blind spot this way. "Don't bother about technique, just develop your theme the way it comes to you". The opposite would be the advice the director Ingmar Bergman gave his students: "Find a favorite and follow him".