How to Choose the Right Viewpoint to Tell Your Painting's Story

You’re looking through your reference photos and inspiration hits. Suddenly the scene before you lights an inner fire and you are so excited to paint. You run into your studio or clear off your kitchen table with a swipe of your arm, pile supplies and are ready to go.


But before you touch paint to paper, hold on for about 5 more seconds and ask yourself: What is the story I’m trying to tell?

 

How to Choose the Right Viewpoint to Tell Your Painting's Story


“There is no story,” you say, “‘I just really think this pear has some spectacular colors in it.”


Well, there’s your story. The story is about the color in the pear. That’s what’s important to you. That’s what you’re trying to convey. And knowing that very important, yet often overlooked, aspect tells you the viewpoint you’ll want to paint.


So if it’s about the pear itself, your painting probably shouldn’t look like this:


How to Choose the Right Viewpoint to Tell Your Painting's Story


But maybe it’s not about the colors in the pear. Maybe what really struck you then is how the pear sat in this beautiful bowl and the roundness of the pear and the roundness of the bowl create a beautiful series of shapes. Then it’s more about the relationship the pear has to an object around it.


If that’s the case, then you’re painting probably won’t look like this.

 

How to Choose the Right Viewpoint to Tell Your Painting's Story


Just a few extra seconds now has made all the difference. If you can verbalize, specifically, what it is that inspired you about a subject, you can then choose the correct viewpoint to tell that particular story. And in the process, make a stronger painting.

 

To learn more about telling the right story with your format, check out Sue Archer's Commanding Color.

 

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