Conquering Detail

Here is an update (detail) of the study for my “Emily in Flowers” painting.  Exploring the infinite amount of detail and variety of textures in this study has been a fantastic journey for me.  I have become engrossed in the curl of each petal, the delicate veins in each leaf, the flowing strands of Emily’s hair, and, when I finally begin the actual painting, these details will be magnified and elaborated on, creating an even more intensified complexity of colors, shapes and textures.  Each detail will appear in crisp focus as though it were being seen under a magnified lens. This will push the “hyper-realism” to an extreme that I’ve not yet attempted.

When creating a work of art with this degree of detail, I have to mentally focus my attention on small sections at a time.  I could spend half a day rendering a cluster of leaves that make up less than an inch or so of the entire image.  In a sense I am thinking of each small section as a composition entirely in itself, and, when completing an area like this, I have completed a small work of art.  If I focus on section by section in this manner, I feel content with my progress. Over time I will build and piece the clusters of detail together much like a puzzle, and eventually the whole image will take shape. 

Once the study is complete, I may end up scanning it into my computer to make further adjustments on Photoshop.  This step is great for compositional decisions.  If some parts are too busy, for example, I can obscure them with a shadow, or if colors are too bright or dull, I can make the necessary adjustments before I ever put my brush to the canvas.

So far I’ve put close to 150 hours into this study.  I probably won’t post another detail until it is nearly complete which will be a few months down the road.

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