Tran Nguyen on when not to apply detail
Jet Carter, UK
Selective detailing will direct the viewer’s eye to the vital parts of the composition and help establish flow in the narrative. With the use of value, I can emphasise the figure by laying deep darks against the brightest whites, like the contrast between the black of her pupil and the lightness of her iris. For secondary components such as the wispy foliage, I keep it less rendered, with very little value change.
I like to keep some of the unrefined brush strokes as they are, to create a hazy feel (like that of the blur effect), which also creates depth without detracting from her face. I know most of us have a compulsive urge to refine every aspect of a painting, but keeping this under control will allow for more atmospheric depth.
It’s also acceptable to use negative space to break up areas of heavy detail. I keep the larger leaf shapes flat as a graphic element. Again, contrast is key. The small fish shapes also serve a similar purpose, as well as adding movement to the composition. It’s most important to have balance in your details: keep the focal point rendered with a wide range of values, while ensuring that its surroundings remain more expressive and obscure.
Start your painting with very loose brush strokes and paint with the full motion of your wrist This will allow for dynamic shapes and textures also the entire Make use of not only the tip, but belly of your brush.
For non-essential areas, let the spontaneity of the paint find itself. Consider leaving sections like the pink petals unrefined and flat.
Push your lights and darks in the areas that you want to emphasise, such as the figure’s piercing eyes.