Thursday, 6 August 2015


MISTY WALK ON LONG BEACH by Sea Dean 24" x 36"
There is something strange I've noticed about really good art...

To stay current, I read many many art blogs, reviews and newsletters and see over 200 paintings a day. You learn a lot when you see that much art passing in front of your eyes. The thing I most love to analyse is the work of masters, past and present, to discover why these paintings in particular have sold and/or stood the test of time.

When viewing art, I try to consider my current painting challenges, the media I am experimenting with, composition, colour combinations, subject matter etc. It is therefore not surprising that I often notice strong compositional technique (because this is an area I am challenged with). One of the most amazing things I've concluded over the years is that no matter how much you zoom in, crop, photo shop or mess around in any way with a master painting, it always looks amazing. Each part is awe inspiring. Each brushstroke has meaning. Each shift in light and dark is planned (or accidental and embellished by the artist's infallible mastery). Even the size and shape is important

MISTY WALK ON LONG BEACH by Sea Dean 12" x 36"
Try it some time. Take a high quality image of a Monet, or equally great masterpiece and crop it into as many small paintings as you can. How many can you create from one large work? I'm talking about crops that retain the same awesome quality as the whole, even if they are a tiny abstracts. First try different crops with the main focal point included. Make some modern crops, cutting off part of the main subject. Group crops to create a completely different abstract work. Move around the edges and see how interesting they can be.

Monet, particularly as he got older, left portions of bare canvas mainly on the edge. Some may consider this sloppy, but this can add interest to a painting and a crop. A little trick I've discovered is that one of the most interesting crops is usually near the artist's signature, but not necessarily including it.

MISTY WALK ON LONG BEACH by Sea Dean 12" x 12"

Some artists paint on flat canvas and crop paintings out of the large piece later. This works really well for abstracts, but can be used on any genre. It is particularly useful for paintings that are languishing in the back of the studio because they've hung in every gallery, show, exhibition and website and haven't sold in many years.

I've know artists that reconfigure their own paintings and on occasion, I've done it myself (see the painting above). A dynamic crop and a new mat or frame can do wonders for an older piece. This is also a great thing to try if you create prints of your work. Perhaps you don't want to sell prints of the whole piece, but what about interesting small portions cropped to put on art cards, cell phones, pillows etc? Professional artists are constantly looking for ways to stretch their creative time, and this is one way to do it without compromising your original art sales.

MISTY WALK ON LONG BEACH by Sea Dean 12" x 16"
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