The Difference Between a Good Painting and a Great Painting
Do you have a dictionary? Great! Because before we start another interesting discussion, try to look up the definition of the word “good.” Well, if you search it on Google, good has plenty of meanings but the one that stood out the most is that it is the quality of being desired or approved of. On the other hand, try to do the same but look up the word “great.” This word means that it is considerably above the normal.
While this may sound like an English lesson, trust us, it is something related to being an artist. Another question, can you remember a time or event when someone complimented you on a “good job” and “great job” on different occasions? What does it feel like? Which sounds better to your ears?
Many would say that “great job” is a compliment that they rarely hear, usually only at times when they stepped out of their comfort zone or they’ve done something extraordinary or simply out of the norm.
As artists, we would rather hear that our painting is “great” than “good.” So this begs the question: what is the distinction between a good and a great painting? Well, the answer is already found in this week’s article: the difference between a good painting and a great painting is five strokes. Wanna know the reasons why? Keep on reading this article to learn more!
Mistakes are inevitable for artists. Most artists welcome mistakes because they are the learning pathway. Would you even call yourself an artist if you’ve never made a mistake, like ever?
Have you ever had a regretful artistic moment where you felt like you overdid your artwork? A moment where you regretted doing a particular brush works because doing otherwise would have made it perfect.
Unless you’re a digital artist, mistakes are something that you cannot click away with a simple yet magical button – undo. In art schools, most experts and professors will teach you something: the art of controlling because the difference between a good painting and a great painting is five strokes.
You may say that such a quote is deep and subject to many interpretations, so as we dig deeper into this article, let’s try to interpret this quote from different perspectives.
What is Really Meant by “The Difference Between a Good Painting and a Great Painting is Five Strokes?”
1. The art of control:
Losing yourself in art is one thing, but learning how to control is another. Simply speaking, all artists, regardless of their niche and type of art that they’re making, must also find the balance between the act of controlling and letting go at the same time.
Some artists, as mentioned earlier, tend to overdo their artworks not just by the brushwork but also by the number of colors they incorporate in their art, the amount of texture, and the number of mediums they use in a single art.
Remember, too many elements will not beautify your work of art; finding the right balance between the elements you use and your artwork will not only be good, but great. Moreover, too many elements may be too distracting, you don’t want that. Instead, you would want artwork with balance, harmony, and cohesion.
2. The five strokes, if done correctly, may not be “overdoing” your
artwork, but create a focal point:
Think of Michelangelo’s famous artwork entitled - The Creation of Man. Do you know where the focal point is? Which part is the most talked about, the one that most people recognize? THE HANDS.
Creating a focal point or the main focus of your artwork can oftentimes be difficult because we often think that it should always be at the center. But that’s not always the case.
Sometimes, a focal point can be a compelling element that changes everything in your artwork–that bold five strokes, a unique color only used once in the whole artwork, an interesting and unique texture, it can be anything, so that is why the difference between a good painting and a great painting is five strokes.
Because having a focal point will get the people talking – they will take the time to look at your art even more, and wonder not only about the interpretation behind the creation but also how you did it.
3. Precision is key to a great art:
If there is another thing that the quote, “the difference between a good painting and a great painting is five strokes” can teach us, it would be that to be a great artist, you need to be precise. And the secret to precision is a little bit of mathematics, yet only a few artists realize that art and math are connected.
Why? Because beauty has something to do with numbers and numbers are in harmony in nature. Where else can we learn pure beauty other than nature?
To tell you more about art, math, and precision, we can learn more about the relationship between the three by diving deep into Renaissance artists.
For instance, Leonardo da Vinci introduced the golden ratio in art when he explained in a book that the use of numbers made his artworks great. Moreover, he even introduced a system familiar to many of us – the paint by numbers system.
To sum things up, numbers can help you be precise when creating great artwork.
A good painter knows different colors, how to use different brushes correctly, as well as how to use different art media. However, a great artist is distinct from a good painter because a great artist knows how to balance controlling and letting go during the creative process.
Thus, a great artist also knows how to create a focal point with five bold brushstrokes and in addition to that, knows that precision is key. That is exactly why the difference between a good painting and a great painting is five strokes.
We hope that this article helped you become a better, greater artist. Til’ next time!