“It is all very well to copy what one sees; it is much better to draw what one no longer sees except in memory. A transformation is effected during which the imagination collaborates with the memory. You reproduce only what has struck you, that is to say what is necessary.” Edgar Degas
Abstract and non-objective painters have it easier, than realistic artists, when it comes to making work original. They have so many techniques, tools, and supplies available to use, they can let their imagination run wild without restraint, until of course it is time to step back and check the composition.
The realistic painter, paints a scene, person, or object, and wants to project to the viewer what it is. So how does the realistic painter go beyond technique and precision to make it their own? Here is where knowing why you are painting something comes in handy. (Blog 5 “The Artists Statement”)
You do have to know what you want to say, and that comes from knowing why you want to paint a certain subject. It is more than copying what you see. It is putting your emotional self in the painting,
The challenge then to the realistic painter is to look at your reference, and simplify when you edit. Try to focus on one area, and don’t try and paint everything. Think about what you can do to strengthen your center of interest in your composition, then think feeling and emotion. Your reference is like a road map. Use it to get there…the big shapes and perspective. Then get of the highway and make it your own!