The Opposite Of Speed Painting

Digital Painting – The Danger of Painting Silhouettes from matt kohr on Vimeo.

There’s more to read, if you’d really like, at the article featuring the above video. My rebuttal is largely to the video itself, so there’s no need to read it all first.

Now, I realize it’s in bad form to debate a poor metaphor, but it applies to both: so what?

The English bit: nearly every sentence we write is an encoding of something or other. The English language itself is just a way of putting every conceivable thought we could possible have and putting it in the form of 26 squiggly lines and a few configurations of dots. Right? We’re encoding thoughts. That’s where their logic doesn’t make sense to me. If we’re encoding thoughts, both of his forms are entirely adequate and as such, you could learn to speak exclusively in abbreviated language just fine. It’d be strange, maybe, but entirely workable. In fact, it might even be better to learn such an abbreviated form because the rules become so much easier. The clauses of sentences become very simple and efficient. You could argue that it’s not English per se, but it is a way of expressing thought in the form of letters. That’s the goal, after all, though. Right?

Okay, so metaphorically, speed painting is this text speak. But then the argument is the equivalent of saying “it’s not real English. You’re not using real English rules!”

Well, no. That’s sort of the entire point.

There is a good point in there, however. Perspective and the fundamentals are important. They are, metaphorically, the letters in both the English and the text speak. They are the fundamental building blocks from which both are built. The important thing to note is that their argument against speed painting is about people ignoring fundamentals, and those are two completely separate arguments.

But yeah, I guess. Everyone! Don’t try text speak unless you know the 26 English letters. It’s a nonsensical point. You can’t English without the letters and you can’t text without the letters. You can’t paint without the fundamentals and you can’t speed paint without the fundamentals. That doesn’t make any of those things wrong or better or worse. It doesn’t make speed painting wrong or worse. The speed of the performance isn’t linked to the skill behind the art.

The ultimate kicker here is even that doesn’t really matter. Did Picasso use perspective? No. He was his own style. It’s harder to apply that to concept art, which is largely environmental and semi-photorealistic but there is in art this potential to be good without being by the book. Things will look silly if you’re truly awful, but there are good examples of ignoring stead-fast rules in order to make something even better.

So no, speed painting isn’t ruining anything. Skills will improve with practice and observation regardless of the style you choose or the speed you do it at.


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