To live and enjoy every day to its fullest, use my gifts to help others, I travel to wherever passion finds me.

What Will She Paint?

So many friends I met here...!

Friday, October 09, 2009


Remember the Lunch spot?
Artists make  a distinction between painting "what they see" and "what they experience."  
With representational painting the margin is much smaller than with impressionistic, 
all the way to abstract art.
I am an experiential painter. 

Don't you paint what you see then?" you might ask. 
Sometimes partly. 
But the experience is much more important to me than the accurate size, 
color, life-like or photographic like shadows, forms, or edges.
To paint what I experience feels much more alive to me. 
Whereas, when I would purely paint what I see, 
it would be a mechanical  or routine exercise to me. 
This happened when I started on the lunch spot that you see. 

For me, even India ink sketches need to be alive
otherwise it may not be worth doing the painting. 
When I can't convey in a small sketch
what I eventually want to paint 
on a big size paper or canvas , there is a 70%
 chance or bigger, that the "mechanical-ness"
will be even more magnified.
I do not want to take that risk.

What was your experience of this spot by the river then?
Well, I'm glad you asked:) 
I was struck with this little spot, because the grass was
so bright, that it almost looked like a field of flowers. 
The little trees by the river, were as if they had put
themselves in a position to wave at people
coming by on the river. 
Also, the branch on the ground looked like it had been left,
by someone playing with it. 
Looking up to the trees, the two big tree trunks provided 
the perfect parental protection and boundary of this spot  
from the other trees, leading up to the road.

So after looking several days at my sketch,
I couldn't wait to open my watercolor palette 
and put yellow and green in the grass! 
From one color, comes another, 
so I ended up with a mixed media painting. 
But I like it much better, because it reverberates 
my feelings/experience of this little piece of ground.

© MixedMedia, St.Germain 

If you say, "Sorry, I can't see all of that in there..."
I'm saying, "That is perfectly okay, because it is 

MY EXPERIENCE of this place.
If you're wondering "Why is she making such a big deal
out of this?"
This is an introduction, 
so I am setting you up in bite size pieces for my less recognizable forms and edges  in my paintings later on... in the wacky world
of abstract art and more of those
mind-boggling things:)


Whitemist said...

I like the way you "blurred" the background!
I like the rest of it also.
I have purposefully ( and hopefully will soon again) been very detail oriented, mostly because i can not see details well anymore, but i truly enjoy your painting of the scene!

Barry said...

That was a brilliant explanation and a wonderful insight into your art. You have opened my eyes and given me something precious to think about.

jeannette stgermain said...

Thanks Joe - this sketch turned into watercolor was an experiment.

A friend of us has visual problems, and he also likes paintings where the edges/boundaries of the shapes are very clear -
I can imagine!
otherwise it looks otherwise a tangled mess of everything and nothing:)

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you Barry - if I explain with my images as you are able to, with verbalizing your thoughts,
I would be very pleased!
But we always want the other person's talent too, don't we? :)

Really enjoyed your series of posts of your recent vacation trip - especially the part of the German aunt!

The Green Stone Woman said...

The painting is great, Jeannette, but why did you decide to make it vertical when the original shot of it was horizontal. Was there a specific reason for it?

jeannette stgermain said...

Yes, the reason is that at that time, I had only a vertical drawing bloc with me. If I would have started on the sketch in a horizontal way, too much of the river that I would not want to show would have come on it (hope I'm making sense!).

98% of my pics I make horizontal (or horizontal and vertical ones), so I have the maximum on info. because when I'm painting I mostly change my mind (bad habit, LOL)

Rudee said...

What an interesting introduction into this process. Your painting does come alive for me, even on a computer screen. You're very talented!

Gaelyn said...

Jeannette, I love the water color from the sketch. I feel like I'm there. I don't see why a landscape, or any, painting needs to look "exactly" like the real thing.

I understand about the award thing.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Yip, thats the way to do it. You know I for one need my lessons in small pieces at a time. :)

You truly have an artists eye Jeannette. It is as you say, the interpretation which counts. Some people never see the woods for the trees. Puting your own meaning into it makes it alive. Any fool can copy what they see in front of them but not many people can let you see what they feel which is much more important.

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you Rudee! Not only doing art myself, but also giving others the tools to understand, is a joy.
For me it's a way to give back to all the chances I've been given in life.

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you Gaelyn - the sketch was done on thick drawing paper - that's why I could add the watercolors (without ruining the paper, LOL.)

Yes, since you have done art yourself, you understand that art is not "copying" reality. But some people think that the better one is at copying, the better artist one is. So I'm educating, without (hopefully) being teachy:)

jeannette stgermain said...

You are a fast learner in Greek! You already understand that it is the interpretation that counts. I'm very pleased with the readers like you who "get it" :)

You are further than the Salon artists of van Gogh's time, who rejected his art, because according to them, his dots did not look like reality!! I think you're ready to graduate:)

DUTA said...

I like both the sketch and the painting. Your explanation on 'experiencing the spot' added some spice to your art.

Merisi said...

VERY interesting introducation, thank you! :-)

I loved that phrase, "to paint what I experience" - it is exactly what I try to learn to do with my camera: Capturing a scene how I experience it. I am a far cry from doing it well, but I want to learn it. It is quite frustrating at times to capture "what I see" because the most interesting subjects do not given you a second shot at it. I shall continue practicing. ;-)

Looking forward to your next lecture!
Thank you :-)

Barbara Pask said...

Your painting is wonderful, what a gorgeous inspiring scene to paint.

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you,that was exactly my plan. Also to make it more palatable for people who have not grown up with art, and feel they don't know anything about it.

jeannette stgermain said...

Well-put! The more we practice, the more interested we become, and the more we get immersed in it, whether it's the camera or the brush.
Now I blog, I keep thinking, I wished I had taken more pics, so I had more angles of the subject:)

Angie Muresan said...

That is such a beautiful painting! I live in the Pacific Northwest which is so rich in natural beauty it takes one's breath away. I wish I could express the magnificence around me, but sadly I'm lacking.

jeannette stgermain said...

Indeed inspiring! Could make a few paintings of this little spot:) My method in this post is an unusual one. I do most often oil, pastel or watercolor with my landscapes.
Welcome to visit any time!

jeannette stgermain said...

Thanks Angie! Went to your blog to see who you were. Your beauty comes in words - you're a gifted story teller!

dancing doc said...

love following your progress and nice to know you are doing well! joy for a great weekend!

jeannette stgermain said...

dancing doc,
thanks! I left you a comment on your post of healthcare in the US. Since I'm Dutch, right now I don't like what's going on in the government right now - it seems they are more looking out for themselves than for the people.

Angie Muresan said...

Jeannette, thank you for dropping by. I've visited via House of Edward for the first time a few days ago, and fell in love with your art. I find it so soothing and beautiful that I've bookmarked your site.

jeannette stgermain said...

That's a very touching compliment - thank you - I am glad I make a difference in your day:)

Also thanks for the follow!

yvette said...



Kathryn Magendie said...

YES! It is the same way with writing - I do not write what I 'see' exactly, but what I experience - which is why my writing is so "character-driven" instead of plot brain works how it works...

I just love that painting- loved it even before you added color....

crochet lady said...

Felt like I was really experiencing the lunch spot. Thanks for describing the details. Your watercolor sketch is an expressive glimpse of that place.

jeannette stgermain said...

thank you for your comment and for your visit!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Yipeee!! Thanks Teacher!! :)

I think that it is maybe my photography which helps see things like this.

I received very high praise on a picture I took and will send it to you tonight. I almost fell of my chair when I read will you. :)

Diane AZ said...

Beautiful! It looks like the painting does convey more of your experience than the photo. I love the colors in the painting, especially in the water. I think the big tree trunks were asking for a vertical layout.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Surely it is the role of the artist to interpret a scene - if I wanted to see exactly what it looked like I would go for a photograph - if I wanted to know about the place, about what is felt like to be there - then I would look at a painting. I love your painting Jeannette.

jeannette stgermain said...

thank you! My guess is you refer to my explanation?

jeannette stgermain said...

I don't think people mind what one focuses on in any branch of art, as long as one does it well LOL

Seems you are back to normal? Or, are you one who can't be in recuperating mode?

Thanks for the comment on the painting!

jeannette stgermain said...

thank you- you are very observant and sensitive! Hope you're feeling better?

jeannette stgermain said...

I so agree- photography is not only a skill, but also an art (my opinion) - and your skill of observing things is very developed anyway!

I'll be looking forward to an attachment:)

jeannette stgermain said...

Thank you - well caught, Diane, it seems I like to make the vertical (here with the tree trunks) or the horizontal direction, even stronger than in the actual scene. Then there is always "movement" in the design.

jeannette stgermain said...

You make my day with that compliment, Weaver! - it's the essence of my approach to art.
(but some people - sometimes even artists! - do not understand that it's the role of the artist to interpret:) )

matthew houskeeper said...

What is the name for the style of painting where it almost looks like a photograph?
There is no interpretation, everything looks as if they simply painted over a photo.

jeannette stgermain said...

They mostly call it hyper realism or photographic realism.
The style of the lunch spot would be called a loose representational, or natural style.
Thanks for visiting!

matthew houskeeper said...

Photo Realism, that's what I was thinking of.

jeannette stgermain said...

Matthew, You're welcome!
So, how is that with your job in the winter? (I thought of it because in MO and WI they already reported snow) Do you keep working on a boat/ship? Or is your job only in the summer months?

Beth Niquette said...

I agree with you--one must draw one's experience, not just what one sees.

You do beautiful work. What a talented artist you are!

jeannette stgermain said...

Hope you'll visit my art website! It's okay if you don't like my approach to painting (plenty people have told me that), but I've noticed that it speaks to the people under 30 years of age, so it's more, so you'll pass it on to the latter group, when the opportunity presents itself.