This entry was originally posted on Monday, October 22, 2012

Mother and Child

By Mary Cassatt


Photographs can be valuable references to paint from.

However, photographs usually capture everything in crisp, clear detail.

Life is not like that.

When we look at an object, we only see the object in detail.

Our peripheral vision (our vision that occurs outside of the very center of our gaze) will sense and be aware of certain objects that are there but they are out of focus. We may not even know what the objects are, just that they are there.

They only come into focus when we change our gaze or adjust our head to see it more clearly.

Sometimes when we paint from a photograph, we are tempted to paint everything in detail just like what the photograph captured.

There is nothing wrong with that.

This is great when trying to capture the calmness of a still life or a setting.

However, a painting might make a stronger statement if only the focal point is in crisp detail and the objects around it are softer and out of focus.

It also works well when trying to capture movement and motion.

Some of my favorite artists did not have the same advantages that we have with photographs.

They relied more on painting from life and became aware of how our vision works.

 Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas, among others, are two artists that sought to capture this.


Leslie Lambert

Author Leslie Lambert

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