Think of a piece of art that moved you so much you purchased it. What was it that caused you to be drawn to that particular piece?
I know the paintings I have collected over the years have stories and are filled with a spark of intrigue and mystery. It is this feeling within the painting that speaks to us. Without this feeling we have a sterile painting.
I know there are many paintings I admire because of the technical skills of the artist but they don’t stir emotion within me.
So how do you put emotion into your paintings? One way is to describe the feeling you want the painting to emit before you start painting. Write down the words and put them where you can see them while creating.
Several years ago I lost my German Shepherd, Emma. Because the breeder where I had acquired Emma had raised his prices for his German Shepherds I couldn’t afford a puppy at the time. I presented the idea to him that I do a painting in exchange for a puppy. After some negotiation he agreed.
He wanted a 48 x 60 painting of a lion. A lion? Really? I thought I was going to paint one or two of his fabulous dogs. Since I had never painted a lion before I was a bit apprehensive…actually, I was really apprehensive!
This is when I decided to describe the feeling of what I wanted the painting to say. I wrote the words Strong, Kind and Compassionate on a piece of paper and taped those words to the side of my easel so they were in constant view.
This allowed me to create a painting of a subject totally foreign to me but filled with the emotion because of those words.
Think of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci or Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night. The Mona Lisa is filled with mystery and emotion because of her smile, and it is the quality of Van Gogh’s brush strokes that allow the viewer to experience the emotional chaos of a gifted but troubled man.
It is the emotion within the painting that pulls you in and it is emotion that makes a painting great.
Want to learn more about how to put emotion into your paintings? Go to www.gwenfox.com/masterclass. I will be starting the next Master Class September 6th and one of the things we will be studying is how to put emotion in your painting.