Seeing the Big Picture

Armand Cabrera


                                Midday Lone Pine Peak        Oil on Linen                       30 x 40
One of the things artists continually struggle with is the big picture.  The big picture is getting the finished painting to stand as a complete thing in perfect balance with itself. When a painting has succeeded and stays true to its maker’s vision where nothing can be added or removed from it without making it less than it is.
 To do this effectively an artist must play to their strengths being sure the idea is one we are capable of realizing. This idea is part of seeing and translating and painting things relative to each other. Everything in painting supports everything else so that together the structure, when completed with the right emphasis is more powerful than the sum of its individual parts.
To do this one must constantly keep track of the big picture. Our job as an artist is to orchestrate everything on the canvas to a satisfying conclusion for the viewer. This is why having an idea is so important.  It is why seeing the finished painting in our minds eye helps us to reach that goal.  Seeing the big picture is seeing the finished picture and letting go of everything that keeps us bogged down and distracted from achieving our goal.

2 thoughts on “Seeing the Big Picture

  1. Hi there,
    I have visited here a few times and so appreciate what you are doing and want to thank you.
    Your comments are insightful and helpful. The discussion of other artists is refreshing and also insightful. I am an artist also. I have always kept some facet of art and creativity going on my life . I now support myself with an etsy shop, but want to make the big leap to just doing painting and pen work. I think I have procrastinated all my life about this, but the time has come. I will try to do less of the etsy shop and more of the real artwork over a period of time. This also requires the vision of the bigger picture, of how this can play itself into reality.

    I enjoy the reading,
    Thank you,
    Lucinda Macy

  2. Oh boy, the big picture…look, as a person who does most of my painting etc. of my own free will and of my own auspices I understand what you mean when stated the "nothing to add nor take away". On the other hand, what about commissions? I at times do some work for people for pay and it ain't done until they are comfortable with it. Also, take an average visitor to a gallery who looks at paintings done 2-3 centuries past. The remarks I hear include "I wish the colors were brighter" etc. because they are used to the techno colors of the 60's on and it is not their norm. It's all give and take as well, the impressionist and then modernist like Matisse painted at the whims of the lighting…or, what seemed to work best in color harmony as he painted (Matisse). I would resolutely say yes about the big picture for studio pieces that studies have been made for etc. but the plein air is tasked with recording inspiration and it is hard to know which path it will take before putting the paint to canvas. Then too (sadly!?!) there is Bob Ross and his happy accidents and there is something to be said for that… that guy's a freakin millionaire!!!
    I suppose my take on the big picture for me is to realize my limitations, be patient and work hard and try to retain my initial vision…the best work I have ever done is where I was able to solve a problem I hadn't realized I'd be confronted with beforehand. What I take most pride in isn't what others like best among my work. Thanks for the post and blog…it is good to have another point of view to relate to.

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