Wednesday, June 1, 2011

David Leffel on painting

Self-Portrait by David Leffel

     "Painting's simple, but its very complex…another thing you can think about too at some point is…the speed of your brush in relation to the speed or the time of what you're trying to describe. Again getting back to movement, every surface has a different movement. Silk is different than burlap, has a different speed. 
     So…how its portrayed; metal has a different speed- soft flesh, bone has a different speed to it, different surface quality. So how fast or slow you portray each one of those tactile qualities depends on the speed of your perception and how fast or slow you do it. If you do burlap too fast, or, even though you may get the values right, the colors right, but if your brush is going too fast, then you lose some of the quality, you lose some of the quality of the burlap, or if you use a heavy hand to do silk, or metal, you know it may look like this or that but it'll lose some of its convincing qualities. 
     Plus, more important, it means you didn't see it. You didn't get it. You…were doing what was in your mind, but not what was in front of you. So that, that's the most important, that you really weren't in contact with reality but you were working out of your head, imposing your view on what was there, not really appreciating the beauty of whats there- you missed it. 
     So, its very important to try to see whats there so that without thinking you can convey the tactile qualities... what makes it beautiful is what it is, so if you miss what it is, then, you see, you miss that moment in your consciousness, in your life, of what you saw…so if you see what kind of a highlight metal has, why you know its metal, in other words, tells you something about its surface quality, the speed again which it travels over the surface, tells you that its metal, not burlap, or silk, not burlap, or burlap, not silk."

This painter is incredible- if you ever have a chance to see a demo by him or if you can find anything by him online, the way he talks about painting is more philosophical than technical. He talks about the difference between painting form and painting direction, and the speed of the surface of objects. I'd never thought about the visual speed of something that's still.

This quote is from a Portrait painting video by the artist. As I hear more interesting and insightful words, I'll post them up. I think I may start a series of posts on enlightening quotes and words on painting, under the tag "quotes".