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Paintings Need a Reason to Live

Now I haven’t been breathing in too much turpentine, but I recently discovered that paintings need a reason to live. 

Having finished two great works of art, I pulled out some of my 6 x 8 inch canvas and just decided to paint.  Let the muse move me.  And ack..utter failure.  Why? 

Well paintings need some sort of focal point.  Some place for your eye to land.  Another thing I found out in my recent reading is that your eye travels from left to right in a painting.  At least according to one author.  So it’s nice to plan your lightness and dark and negative space to help your eye to travel.  Or at least frame your picture. 

I had this in hand when I just started to paint.  But when I was finished there was no reason for the painting to be there.  It had no reason to “live”.  It did not have a life or a spirt of its own. 

So now I have a couple of 6 x 8 canvas paper weights.   But I think I learned a valuable lesson.  You must paint was inspires you and as part of the process you must breath some light and spirit into the work.