How Sacrificing Detail Can Add Mood
In a new YouTube video I show how I painted this moody morning scene in gouache by sacrificing detail and emphasizing light effects.
My goal is to capture a fleeing light effect by using a warm priming color to achieve a "photographic" lens flare. Halfway through, I paint over the whole thing with a glaze to reduce detail. The glaze is risky because gouache reactivates when it's rewet, and to be honest, it's kind of a disaster for a while.
Here are some takeaway quotes about the theory of sacrifices:
“Nature instills sentiments in the spectator through the selective sacrifice of details in order to improve the overall effect.”
--The Theory and Practice of Water Colour Painting: Elucidated in a Series of Letters
“Painters without experience often weaken the effect they wish to produce by a prodigality which multiplies uselessly the figures and accessories of a picture. It will not be long before they learn that, the greater the conciseness and simplicity with which a thought is interpreted, the more it gains in expressive force.”
—Jules Breton, The Life of an Artist: An Autobiography, 1890