Personal Art Blog

Sharing the lessons I teach at the Artist Guild and the personal discoveries in my art.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Lemon Slices

Lemon Slices.  Detail from a larger painting of mine.
not for sale.

Artist Note.

Continuing how to prevent Cookie Cutter paintings  - no matter what your style.
The whole point is not to surround your object with the same value or color.

On my painting above you can see the linkage by values. 
The shadow side of the small bowl links into the larger vase.
The shadow sides of the lemons are a transition value into the silver bowl. The grape is linked too.

Here are how some well know artists prevented the "Cookie Cutter" syndrome!
You may click to enlarge.

                                                    Grant Wood.  Detail: American Gothic

Everyone knows this piece.
 It is a painting of precise realism,
but notice the value of the peak
area of the house being very similar to the
flesh so it links the two heads together.
If it had been a bright blue sky cutting in a straight line 
their heads would have been too cookie cutter.
His right ear gets completely blended in parts.
Her neck and collar in the light create a nice
lost edge next to the house and the same
blend of values where their clothes meet.
The whole painting is full of ebb and flow
so no cookie cutter here!

Cezanne. Detail: Apples and Oranges

Notice on the plate a light yellow apple.
It is a similar value to the plate and it links
into the yellow on the apple behind.
He chose not to heavily outline it like the others
so I think it is a deliberate passage of light
to break up what otherwise would be a
big, round, clump of color against his light cloth.
The background apples are a beautiful
merging of value and color into the back area.
                                                    Brilliant artist. I love his work.

Henry Ossawa Tanna
Detail: Banjo Lessons  (1893)

The boy's hair is obviously the highest contrast
creating a deliberate small area of a cookie cutter
effect with the end of the banjo and mans hand,
but his arm and shirt are a more gentle contrast
against the very light background and the pant
legs are very similar in value/color to the floor.
Deliberate linking of the dark area of the crotch,
up into the vest and shadow side of the banjo,
sets off the round face of the banjo, which is
a perfect value - not competing with the background light.
Tanner was one of the most successful African American fine artists of the
19th century, enjoying an international acclaim. He is worth exploring
further if you enjoy the romantic, European style of that period.

Now you know what to look for I hope you go back over some of your old paintings
to see if there are areas which a too "cookie cutter."

Being an artist is not easy and I still paint something too cookie cutter
and then I sigh, mutter, mutter, and fix it!

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  1. You have opened my eyes on the 'cookie cutter' problem, Julie. I will certainly go back and look at my paintings and make corrections. Thanks!

  2. That was a terrific explanation on cookie cutter, hard and soft edges, movement through a painting. Thank you.Helen

  3. Oh my...something to learn here, the' cookie-butter' phenomena that expression, and really appreciate your explanation and examples.


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