George Allen Durkee


Capturing the feeling of a subject does not begin with knowing which colors to mix, or how to apply the paint to create specific textures - these are the means and not the end. A work of art begins with empathy for the thing to be expressed.

Don't stand back as though you are an island, separate from everything else; experience yourself as part of Nature. If you go no farther than to replicate the physical appearance of a scene, you've got a picture of what your subject looks like, but where is your individual personality - the soul of your subject?

Think about this one thing: a work of art does not tell everything there is to know about its subject; it says something in particular - the dry, raspy crackling of a hot summer day or the stillness deep within a forest. If you want to create paintings with feeling, that convey emotion, begin by taking a few minutes to become acquainted with your subject before squeezing those sensuous colors onto your palette. Be still. What is it that draws you to this particular subject from all the thousands of possible things you could paint? Maybe it's an obscure quality of light and atmosphere, the juxtaposition of forms, the arrangement of colors. Or maybe you intuit a certain gesture. Whatever it is, this is the IDEA of your painting. Rather than trying to say everything you know about your subject, catch the IDEA. Everything else is less important. Say just this one thing. Maybe you can declare your vision in words before you begin, and maybe not. As you work, be guided by a clear intention - paint from your heart the one thing you want to express. And yes, you're right, there is more to it than that.

George Allen Durkee

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