In the 1960's I attended an art show in which hung a huge mural size painting showing as its content the total of three words: "Say Everything Completely". I rebelled against that message then and I bristle at it now.
The reason is that in my work, a part of my personal aesthetic is understatement.
HOW MUCH INFORMATION IS NECESSARY
Understatement is not a principle required for a work to be successful. Rather, it is a choice, a decision not to tell the whole story,
to say just enough so that the viewer can fill in the rest of the story. Andrew Wyeth's work certainly shows the power of detail, but even he leaves a lot unsaid with the way he presents his content. Many of the original Impressionists, with their intention on studying the impact of light on color, understated their imagery.
Even though understatement is not a requirement, nevertheless it is important to always make discerning decisions about what in the
subject is needed in the painting or drawing.
Here's one of my versions of understatement in a little portrait drawing. My intention was to leave out everything that was not needed to show the
spirit of the girl. For that I used the technique of lost edges.
About two decades ago, I did a study series of our now deceased border collie, Susie. In the first drawing I was studying detail with directional
movement. In the second one, I used lost edges, attempting to see just how much I could leave out and still capture Susie's essence. (I probably could have left out more)
Choose any subject that you either enjoy drawing or that you know well. Do a series of drawings where, in the first you put in everything you see. Then do a
second one, use lost edges to leave out some stuff. After this, do a third where you put in as little as you can and still have the essence of the subject.
May your weekend be one of rich experiences.
You can access the archive of all my newsletters at anytime by going HERE.