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Frustration to "keep the abstraction"

KP83KP83 -
edited April 2018 in Post Your Paintings
Hey all,
I painted two little sketches of the same flower recently.  I wanted to experiment painting one tight and one loose.  Both are painted from life.  They're also cell phone photos with glare, but you get the idea.

At first I was very disheartened with the looser one.  Now I'm not as sure.

I was taught to paint tighter  but have been spending years trying to "let go" and paint it more abstractly/loosely.  It's not easy.


  • they're both very beautifully painted! like a pro.. are you one?  :) professionally trained?
  • mariebmarieb -
    edited April 2018
    @KP83, I prefer the tighter one, it is not really that tight,not “ photo realistic”. It depends on the look youvwant to achieve.If you were painting lots of flowers, the tighter one could be in the front with several loose ones towards the back. 
  • Hey everyone,
    Thanks for the input!

    Anwesha: thank you.  Yeah, I studied at a few ateliers.  I work in the studio of a "famous" contemporary artist (if you know about the contemporary NYC art world then you know his name).  So I paint for him, but don't show my own work much at all.  I recently realized I've spent the past 4 years going back and forth between tighter and looser painting.  I tell myself that I figured out what Im doing wrong, make some progress, and then hate it, go back to tighter painting, and repeat.  I haven't shown much because of that.  I think I need to go with the tightly painted one and just stick with it.  I paint naturally like that, while the looser one is difficult to do and hard to judge.

    Movealonghome: thanks for the input.  I kept going back and forth between which one I liked.  But you make a good point about a single flower in isolation.  I tried a "clump" (?) of these flowers on a table, and got frustrated halfway through and quit.  Getting past the artist's curse is hard.

    Man, Sargent is soooo good.

    Marieb: thank you, too.  I agree that it's not photorealistic.  I'm not interested in that anymore... I do it at my job and don't really want to do it for myself.  I definitely simplify the form, less photographic, more like a lot of the old masters or illustrators.  Not saying that's better, but, I just don't feel like rendering something for eternity. And good point about painting one area lik

  • Folks

    Do you feel the same frustration I have when the discussion ping-pongs between loose and tight?

    Here is a quote I endorse from a water color artist on this topic.

    Loose painting is not more artistic simply because its loose. Its artistic because the loose passages were employed skillfully, maximizing the medium’s strengths and showcasing the beauty of color combinations, flow, center of interest, composition and a host of other elements that came together in a dynamic and pleasing way, albeit loose way. The same goes for tightly controlled, realistic rendering and detail. A piece is not strong because it is accurately rendered to the minutest detail. All the detail in the world, all the realism in the world can’t make a piece of art more artistic. Its the intangibles that matter: design, composition, light, value, leading eye elements or any of the other elements that also make a loose painting great.
    Thanks Steve.


  • Both of these in the same composition with the tight one(s) at the focal point wouldn't have been a bad clump.
  • bixbybixby -
    edited April 2018
    Have you tried and I'm no expert but saw this in a demonstration and the demonstrator believed this to be Sargentesque; keep it tight until the end preserving the broad , thickly painted stokes, also " pushing"  the dark background into the subject, cutting shapes out on the lit side.
  • SummerSummer -
    edited April 2018
    @KP83 ; Both loose and tight paintings can have good design, composition, light, value, and other leading eye elements.  So here we are back to square one.  In the end, I think you will have to please yourself.  We will love whatever you come up with judging by what you have shown us here.  Summer 

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