The Three Levels of Painting

The Three Levels of Painting

Becky Joy

I  have been reading a book by Kevin Weckbach of Colorado, "A Visual Palette". While here in Denver for the PACC show, I went out to dinner with several artists and sat at a table with my friend Janet Anderson and Kevin.

Of course, we talked about painting and teaching. Janet showed me his book when we got home. I have heard and talked about the three levels of painting, but Kevin put it much more eloquently and expanded on the thoughts than I had.

First he wrote about the fact that all good paintings were first a good abstract painting. I agree. Any painting must have good design, composition, use of color, edges, values, etc to be a good painting. All paintings start out as abstracts with the placement of shapes. The addition of details is the decoration and really unnecessary to a good painting.

All (or at least the majority of artists) start out in level 1, the rendering of objects, what we see. We paint a cup or a flower.

Level 2, the next step is to paint shapes. As an advancing artists we start to see, values and color to define our world. We no longer see an object to paint. It is the shapes and values that compel us to paint something.

Level 3 is harder to define. It is when the artist reaches that zen zone. The artist is putting emotion into the painting to convey how they feel about it. Not every artist reaches this point, nor do they attain it in every painting.

At this point the artist is able to rearrange, compose, change values or colors to orchestrate to the painting to give the viewer an emotional connection. I had always stated this a little differently, but I like what Kevin had to say a little better.

  1. paint what we know
  2. paint what we see
  3. paint what we feel
I haven't finished reading the book, but I thought this was something interesting to pass along to you. Talk to you all later.

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