Virtual Art Academy
Less Is More: Suggesting Details Makes Your Painting Stronger 1

Less Is More: Suggesting Details Makes Your Painting Stronger

Suggestion is much more powerful than detailed rendering. More sophisticated paintings suggest detail without actually rendering it. This increases the viewer’s involvement and interest in the painting by making viewers exercise their own imagination, which is almost limitless.

Less Is More: Suggesting Details Makes Your Painting Stronger 3

See how the figures here are not really defined but just suggested.

This is a small painting, only a few inches in size.

No longer are you just showing the viewer what you, the artist, is thinking about, but you are stimulating them to contribute their own thoughts and images to the work. In this way, the viewer becomes a participant in the experience.

If you depict everything as does a camera, you leave nothing up to the imagination of the viewer, who becomes just a spectator of the work, rather than a participant in it. 

still life painting of wild flowers
Less Is More: Suggesting Details Makes Your Painting Stronger 9

Look at the flowers in the above painting. They aren’t defined in any details, but suggested using a few (fairly accurate) dabs of color. The leaves in the back of the still life again are just suggested. In this case by painting some color then scraping it off with a palette knife to leave just a trace of green color.

Less Is More: Suggesting Details Makes Your Painting Stronger 4
Less Is More: Suggesting Details Makes Your Painting Stronger 10

I also like this as an abstract composition:

Less Is More: Suggesting Details Makes Your Painting Stronger 5
Less Is More: Suggesting Details Makes Your Painting Stronger 11

Here is another painting from my recent plein air painting trip in Morocco showing the same principle.

Less Is More: Suggesting Details Makes Your Painting Stronger 6
Less Is More: Suggesting Details Makes Your Painting Stronger 12

And another painting below (much earlier than the above work), in which you can see the same suggestive detail in the windows of the old buildings in an old village in southern Tuscany in Italy.

Less Is More: Suggesting Details Makes Your Painting Stronger 7

To learn more about how you can use brushwork to increase the viewer’s involvement and interest in the painting by making them exercise their own imagination through use of suggestion, see workshop L of the Virtual Art Academy® Apprentice Program.

More Oil Painting Techniques

See more oil painting techniques.


What Our Students Are Saying About The Virtual Art Academy

Barry gave me a fishing rod so I can catch my own fish

Barry gave me a fishing rod so I can catch my own fish 2

After weeks and even months of searching YouTube, “googling” and spending a fortune on art instructional books I finally came across the Virtual Art Academy®. When it comes to purchasing online I am always very careful how I spend my money. Especially when I already spent a small fortune on art books. They always seemed great: presenting wonderful tutorials – and beautiful colorful paintings as a result. You then tend to think you will be able to create something equally beautiful after completing particular tutorial. Unfortunately not the case! I discovered that these tutorials only gave me the fish, not the fishing rod. Barry gave me a fishing rod so I can catch my own fish. The course is well planned, the lessons are clear. Simple. And I can always repeat the assignment as much as I want. And that’s what I was looking for. It opens one’s mind. It opens my eyes to all aspects of art. I see now the scene I want to paint and I think of values, preparation for the notan painting, colour. I can plan how I want to paint the scene or portrait. It’s brilliant. What I really like about Virtual Art Academy is that it takes it all apart and puts it back together. Starts from scratch, comes back to basics. It gives a fantastic foundation. It does what it says on the tin.

Dagmara Zaręba
Pin
Share