Artist Renoir’s ideas about subject matter for artists.


Renoir sketchbook studies ca. 1885

Renoir once stated, “There isn’t a person, a landscape, or a subject that doesn’t possess at least some interest-although sometimes more or less hidden.  When a painter discovers this hidden treasure, other people immediately exclaim at its beauty.”  When you  just do not have the “inspiration” to draw or paint something don’t  give up!   There is an unlimited number of options out there.  Try something opposite from your usual, instead of looking at the large landscape look at the plants creating the landscape.  Or get even smaller and get out a hand held magnifying class to see your house plants’ leaves close up.  Do you always draw landscapes then try people.  An often missed opportunity is using your reference photograph  just as it was taken.  Take that photo and sketch loosely different compositions in your sketchbook see how many  variation you can come up with.

Renoir watercolor sketch ca. 1886

Here are just a few ideas:  leave out elements, make an element bigger, change the values (lights and darks), use only one section of the photo, move the horizon line up or down in the composition, add elements from another photo, change the lighting from am. to pm. light creating a different mood, change the color palette.  Note the Renoir colors that are present in all of these images of his.  I could go on, it is endless! Give yourself permission to change things up.  Here is a beautiful quote from artist Ingres (1780-1867).

Ingres said “A painter can turn pennies into gold, for all subjects are capable of being transformed into poems.”

Renoir oil painting “Cagnes-sur-Mer” Ca. 1885

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s