Monday, April 11, 2011

Seeing Faces in Clouds

There's nothing worse than displaying a painting you're proud of and then having someone say, "That cloud looks just like an elephant!"  Of course, you can always go back and change the cloud so it doesn't look like an elephant - or a fish or Uncle Bob or whatever.  But just because one person says it, does it necessarily make it true for the next person?  Would you or anyone else have seen it that way if it wasn't mentioned?

I don't have any answers.  Sometimes, the similarity is obvious.  Other times, it's a stretch.  If it's obvious, I'll fix the painting.  If it's a stretch - I may not.

On Campobello Island, there's a rock outcrop just off shore that is charted as Sugar Loaf Rock.  The locals, however, call it the Frog Rock.  It's pretty obvious, but you might not think it, if someone didn't say it.  I paint that rock a lot, and now I have to work hard at cosmetic surgery to minimize the rock's frogginess.  (I can't help but see the frog.)

You'll go insane if you look at your paintings and try to discover all the faces in them in an effort to avoid them.  Sure, avoid anything that's obvious.  And don't paint a cloud because it looks like Uncle Bob.  Paint the cloud because it supports the idea of your painting.

My advice is - don't worry about the faces.  Just make a good painting.

Here are two  pastels I did recently, neither of which has any faces, as far as I can tell.  They are sketches done on a material that's new for me, PastelMat.  I like the way it holds pastel.

"Sail Rock" sketch - 3x6, pastel, $60 - buy

"Uptown Trails" sketch - 3x6, pastel, $60 - buy


Karla said...

I know what you mean! I tried to paint a picture from a photo my hubby took in Austrailia. I started to see things in the rocks, a face, a dinosuar, a gremlin. Ach!

Fritz Engelhardt said...

Which shows a picture is not always the reality. The truth is different. What we see is our impression.
Fritz Engelhardt

Jo Castillo said...

Your post made me smile today. I have taken many photos of some mountains in NM that I love. Recently someone pointed out that it looks like a gorilla lying down. I had never seen that in my 60+ years. Now how can I paint it without putting in the gorilla? Yikes.