Art Talk | "What to Paint" by Bonnie Lou Prouty

Photo credit: Pamela Fulcher
What to Paint?

What is the “subject” or image we finally put on our paper or canvas?

Often it is obvious, it is a trip we took, a place we visited and photographed and sketched. Sometimes we see some familiar thing or place in a new and interesting light or angle.

New flowers are abloom in our garden or along the roadside. A swath of yellow trees captures our attention as we drive past them in the spring.

So what is it we finally decide to arrange in shapes,colors, lines, textures and values on our blank and white space that calls out to us to fill?

Maybe it is simply an “idea” we want to express. Love, sorrow, grief, hope or new birth.
For this image to have validity it must contain some passion, that is, we need to have some “real” connection to the subject.

Perhaps it is a metaphor the we have thought about, something that keeps coming to our mind and then when we push it away it comes back.

It is a vague image perhaps, only a foggy imagined thing we begin to recognize as we put our thoughts into images or sketches.
We push it back and decide, no not today, it is far too complicated and requires too much effort.

Then the image comes again and again, almost like a melody in our head that won’t go away,
Finally, just to hopefully quiet the image, we begin to let it happen.

We find that our drawing and painting now acquire a strength and trueness they had not had.
We try various ways to express this idea, each attempt leading to more visual ideas as to “how to do this”.

Now we feel complete. We have actually expressed what our innermost being was feeling. We feel satisfied, the images are out there, real and true!

We have made visible the invisible! We have painted our very being!
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Bonnie Lou Prouty is a resident of Rockport and a lifelong artist, graphic designer and teacher. Bonnie works in a variety of mediums and is currently represented by the Estelle Stair Gallery in Rockport.

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