What Makes A Great Oil Painting

   This can be a highly debatable topic, but I do think there are certain qualities a great painting should have. Feel free to disagree, but here is what I think. It has to grab your attention and have the ability to draw someone in to have a closer look. There should be some snap or fire in the color harmonies even if it’s a darker painting. The lighting should be natural and have its own glow, unlike the faux lighting effects often used. There must also be detail in the shadows and dark sections of the painting as well as detail in the highlights. It should also achieve an adequate sense of depth. The shading and brush work should be appropriately done. I say appropriately, because an artist may want to have a loose brush stroke as part of their style or effect and it’s acceptable for that painting. But in some paintings you can tell that the artist may have been a little lazy and did not render out an element as well as they could have. You can spot this by looking at other elements in the painting. See if they are of similar quality, or some spots of the painting are more refined than others. The painting needs to have a certain level of detail, otherwise it did not take that long to make. You can see this when a painting gets your attention but the closer you get to the image or zoom in on an image the illusion falls apart. It’s because it lacks detail.
   I think that a painting should have enough detail so it holds up even when you get closer to it. One of the most important effects a painting must have is the ability to pull you out of your element, and stir up emotions. Or if the painting causes you to reflect or ponder. If you can find yourself starting to mentally wander in the painting and it gets your imagination going, then it’s a good painting. But if you can feel somehow refreshed a little for having gotten lost in the painting and temporarily forgot about the days troubles, then it’s a great painting.
   As an oil painter, I can tell you these are high standards and difficult to achieve, but I think these are the qualities that make a great painting. And I sincerely hope I have made some paintings that have these effects on you. Now I also want to add that sometimes a great painting can be quite different than what I say here. This is because one also has to consider that an artist can take an idea or subject and have it distilled down in a way that you are getting only the cream or the main focus of the painting, but yet it says it all. Paintings like this are at the opposite spectrum of the way I paint, but they are valid. It also means that the artist has taken a great deal of time to work out their idea and have come to realize that this is the best way to communicate their vision or idea. Again, this is what I think and the way I strive to paint. But using this information as a guideline will help you when deciding to purchase a piece of original art.

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Michael Orlando

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Tags: Great , Oil , Painting

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