I love to paint nature: landscapes, trees, bodies of water. Sometimes the places that I paint have depicted were I was standing and what I was looking at in that moment. Perhaps I was standing in a beautiful field in France or looking up at red rocks in New Mexico. Frequently, however, I like to imagine a scene and I just start painting and see where it takes me. I like the idea of not knowing exactly what my final painting will look like. Like this one for example:
Occasionally, however, my brain seems to be drawn to painting a particular scene or object that is a drawing challenge for me, requiring that I draw and paint with precision that includes very accurate perspective, dimensions, and detail, for example the foreshortening of arms on a chair. The first time I had this desire to paint something that would be a challenge for me was in France when one night there was no scenery to inspire me. I felt like painting, but I had run out of ideas.
I began wandering around the very old house that I was staying in and looking at some old French furniture. I was drawn to a particular chair that seemed like it may be interesting to pursue.
Indeed it was. It was somewhat early in my art pursuit, and I had never thought myself capable of drawing anything realistically. It took about four days of getting the legs to match and to get the arms the correct length, but my brain loved the thought process and the problem solving. Pictured is my first chair. Then I had to do another. After the second chair I was finished with my brain exercises for the time being.
My next venture into more precise detail came a few years later with this kitchen scene.
I have been painting quite loosely for a while now, but I am feeling that the old pull to be more exact may be coming soon. How about you? Are you drawn to the looseness of an image or more toward realistic work?