Roberts' process is to begin with an inspiration (whatever moves him to paint), thumbnail sketches to simplify and to compose (dimensions of the thumbnail sketch must be in direct proportion to those of the canvas or the design won't work), and painting a grisaille (grayscale underpainting) before moving onto the final coats of paint. My process is very similar to this one.
But, Roberts notes, artists frequently become sidetracked as they paint and fail to keep the "whole" painting or inspiration in mind when concentrating on specific smaller areas of the work. So, he gives us some remedies like:
- sit away from the canvas for awhile and think about it to rediscover the idea that was initially intended.
- evaluate the three contrasts of painting: value, hue and intensity; if one particular area isn't working, put your hand over it for an overview of the rest of the painting to will reveal what the incorrect area should be like.
- examine how the eye is led through the painting to see if you created a path through and around the entire surface.
- as you paint, continually step back and evaluate the painting from a distance; hold it in front of a mirror as well as in different orientations; anything that isn't working will become more apparent.
Roberts also exhorts the reader to visit museums and select a few paintings to study and draw. He writes: Doing this exercise of drawing a painting, studying the shapes and proportions, engages us far longer in the learning process than when we just look at it passively. How true! These suggestions have always worked for me, along with other "tricks." However, Roberts warns us that his process may be too "up-tight" for many painters who prefer a spontaneous loose approach. So, I guess we must do whatever works since there are no hard and fast rules that govern process.
And so, the book ends.
I'll quickly sum-up my opinion of this book. It contains some gems, but also some biases that too narrowly restrict the meaning and definition of "art." To me, that's contradictory to what it means to be "creatively authentic." However, much of the advice is helpful and worth pondering. Roberts' writing style is comfortable for the reader, although he tends to ramble on (like me!). Nevertheless, I would recommend Creative Authenticity to beginning artists.
A special THANK YOU to those of you who have commented throughout these postings. I'm indebted to you for making this a shared enlightening and meaningful experience!BTW - the image above is my special place to meditate. This is the Clark Island shoreline located a short walk from my home in Maine. It's a lovely remote place to sit and think, and on occasion , to see my grown son speeding by in his boat far off in the distance looking for lobsters.