Paint what you see, not what you know

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Paint what you see, not what you know. There is a disconnect at times between the pre-fabricated, stereotypical image you may have in your head of what a “hand” should look like, for example, and what a hand actually looks like. We have four fingers, one thumb and a wrist at the end of our arm….right? Yes, but…

Our four fingers can be split into two opposing groups that curve inwards towards each other. The palm plays a huge role in giving shape to the hand. Knuckles mean everything. Fingernails don’t actually cover the entirety of the top of the fingertip. And how many colors are really in a fingernail? I count six in my pointer fingernail right now. Your thumb has it’s own palm. There are very few, if any, straight lines. And these are just obvious observations that are easily seen…if you are looking at them in the proper way.

Detail – hand from Normal Park

So, forget what you think you know, because so many times it just isn’t correct. Heck, if someone asked you to draw a tree right now, what would you draw? Without any cynicism at all within this question, is it the same tree that you used to draw for you first grade teacher? It very well may be. Brown trunk that gets a little thinner as it goes up, topped off by a green, clumpy ball of green. Maybe a few branches sticking out to the side at 90 degree angles. Is your sky blue? Maybe so, maybe not, but no such tree exists naturally. Most trunks are gray with purple and white hues. Tops of trees have so much sky poking through that you need only add minimal leaves. The sky can be blue, sure, but usually it is so much more. So, forget what you think you know about a thing, and then perhaps you can begin to see it for what it truly is.

Paint what you see, not what you know. So tough to do at times, but once you do it, you’ll know it. Good luck, and get started painting!

  • Rik

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