Techy paintings and general musings..


Some of my favorite paintings of 2014

If you listen to a music piece you are first pulled in by the melody, and, depending on the piece, the voice or instruments. But there’s much more: the thing you can’t explain! It grabs you, it touches you, it makes you hum along and gives you chills or a general feeling of elatedness. Good music does that! Never does it occur to you to think about the craft, the notation, the hours of practice or how the song is structured.

Visual Art can do the same thing, a performance or a painting. In my opinion, that should be the goal of a fine art painter. To create something more than a techy painting. There are so so many artists out there doing a really fine job of copying photographic reference, creating super accurate work, solid forms and… boring paintings, devoid of any life.

The problem is that, in order to become solid painters, we have to put big efforts into our craft and it’s mostly all left brain, techy. Washes, blending, edges, color mixing, palettes-brushes-paper. Many painters create hundreds of color swatches, whole sheets of them. What is that good for? Now you know what happens if you mix x and y pigment. Great. While I understand the desire to learn about color mixes, I think a better approach would be to arrive at your signature color mixes during actual painting time. It’s a bit like practicing a guitar solo ‘dry’, without the music that has to go with it. If it’s not within the context of music, it is worthless! Same goes for color mixes! Ok, now that I have offended just about everyone, it’s time to move on 😉

Balance is the key word between the craft and what goes beyond (see, there’s not even a word for it!) You won’t find the rhythm, the lyrical nature of the subject if you copy what you see with your left brain. You’re missing the deeper message. So a balance of both worlds is in order.

Being connected with the subject matter is important.Focusing on the beauty and strength of the subject is another. In the end, all your senses have to be involved or else you’re just pushing around pigment on paper. Don’t get suckered into the techy parts too much but let it happen on autopilot. Go with the gut, get into the zone when it’s done and you step away, spent but happy, looking at the result and you ask yourself: How did that happen?

I want to wish everyone who’s following my artistic journey a Merry Christmas and a happy and successful 2015. See you all next year. My workshop schedule is here

4 thoughts on “Techy paintings and general musings..

  1. Vianna Szabo

    Great timing on this post, Frank. I just discovered your blog and website recently and love your painterly watercolors and informative blog posts. I am a pastel and oil painter who is obsessed with watercolor and am finally taking the leap to learn the medium. While the technical aspect of watercolor is daunting I am approaching it with the same mindset I use with my other mediums; shape, gesture, values, edges, color, and simplifying the brushwork to make the clearest statement possible. I have started doing one watercolor a day and with each session I record what works or does not work. While painting I entertain the right side of my brain and then critique later with the left side. I hope to become more proficient so I can find the happy place where my watercolors will soar. There is no better way to learn to paint than by putting brush to pigment and pushing the boundaries to see what will work. Thank you for this post and I look forward to seeing more of your work in 2015.

    1. frankeber Post author

      Great comment, Vianna! Thank you. Your approach rings true and the fact remains that painting is painting. Many of my watercolor colleges seem to forget that. I hope you’ll continue to improve and will love watercolor at least as much as other mediums! Happy New Year to you!!

  2. Philip Pittsenbarger

    Hi Frank I like the beach one a lot the reflections of the cliffs on the water look great, I also like the lost edges on the hills in the background. All of them have great quality of light in them.
    Have a good one,

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