I was out in the front yard this morning trimming rose bushes. I know I should have done that in the fall, but winter came on us very quickly this year. We didn’t have much of a fall and before I knew it we were buried in snow and the deadwood would have to stay until I could get to it this spring. Anyway, there I was pruning away and an amazing thing happened. Without the massive rose bush ruling over the garden, the spring daffodils suddenly took center stage.
I don’t think I had ever given them a second thought before. But there they were in all their glory. Of course, I had to get my camera. And of course, I had to draw a correlation in art. And that is artistic editing. Some call it their artistic license to change things for the sake of the composition. When I first started painting my own pieces (not patterns), I would take reference photos and try to paint everything that was in the photo. This made it realistic, right? No, it made a cluttered mess.
By cutting out unnecessary elements, you will draw more attention to the stars of the show. As a new artist, you might ask, “What do I cut out?” Well, that really depends on what you are trying to say with in your painting. What do you want your viewers to see the most? That will be your area of interest or focus. The secondary elements should help lead the viewer through the painting to the focus area and back out again–around and around.
Using the photo above, I might choose to have the rose bush as the main focal point, with the recycle bag in the background and add my loppers to the foreground, totally eliminating the daffodils if I wanted to tell a story about garden pruning. If I wanted to tell a story about spring I may or may not leave the pruned rosebush in the background, keep the clump of grass in the front right and eliminate the rest. Or I might choose just a few daffodils instead of the whole clump. (It’s always good to paint in odd numbers–1, 3 or 5. It adds more interest.) Or, I might go all dramatic and concentrate on just one bloom. As an artist the decision is all mine. Nothing is written in stone that says I have to stay true to what’s in a photo, or in what I see.
How would you edit this photo? Is there a story there you’d like to see?