In 1978, The Museum of Modern Art opened a photography exhibition called Mirrors and Windows. It divided artists into two groups: Mirrors and Windows.
An excerpt of the press release:
“… the photograph is seen either as a mirror – a romantic expression of the photographer’s sensibility as it projects itself on the things and sights of this world; or as a window – through which the exterior world is explored in all its presence and reality”
When painting or drawing, this division becomes even clearer. Do you feel that, for example, a rose must reflect the mood of your thoughts (mirror)? Or do you want the rose to look recognizable and real (window)?
Mirrors and Windows – The Way You Create
I think this comparison is the most interesting when thinking about the process of creating. That’s what matters most to us who create anyway!
Here’s how I redefine mirrors and windows:
- Mirrors like to work intuitively and focus on a small area at the time.
- Windows like to work from a photo or make a sketch and be able to see the big picture first.
I like both approaches even if I am more of a mirror myself. Actually, if I hadn’t practiced being a window, I couldn’t be the mirror that I am now. Usually, problems arise when you want to be a mirror but try to control the big picture through the process. Or if you want to be a window but don’t use any plans or references.
Altering Between the Approaches
The upcoming class Floral Fantasies in Three Styles has many projects. In some, you are a mirror. In others, you are a window. Flowers are so much fun to paint because they can be created with many styles and techniques. This is the class where I have heard these comments the most: “I would have never guessed that I enjoy this way of working, but I am!” It truly can surprise you how you create your best work.
The watercolor painting below is one of the class projects where I guide you to start loose. First, you will create simple abstract shapes and then magically transform them into flowers. A pleasurable to create and perfect for you who likes to be a mirror!
Floral Fantasies in Three Styles – Sign Up Now!
Spend four weeks drawing and painting flowers with me! The class will run between April 29 – May 24.
>> Sign up here!