Creating Better Art Means
Painting and Drawing.…Less

Creating better art means using the right tools.

And one of the great tools for creating outstanding work is learning to throw stuff away.

No, I am not joking.

By that I don't mean you need to finally clean out your messy closets.

Instead, you need to clean out that messy reference photograph before starting a painting or drawing using it.

Creating Better Art Means Facing Facts

Many beginning artists fall into the trap of looking for a photograph that interests them and then just copying it.

I did that in my beginning years, and I see it in the work of aspiring artists today.

To create better art means pushing yourself beyond just copying because...

Copying simply doesn't use much of the creativity you possess.

And believe me; you possess much more creativity than you think you do.

It is there in your mind waiting to be used.

Here's What To Do

 Let's say that like me you wanted to paint this fire boat belonging to the Seattle Fire Department.

You first need to ask yourself how much of the stuff in this photograph do you really need in your art.

You answer that question by also asking yourself:" What's the star of my picture going to be?"

Now, in this case you may be thinking, "Well, duh, the boat, of course."

But here's the deal.

It's often better to pick something smaller to grab the viewer's attention first before letting their eyes savor the rest of the painting.

That something is the real star.

And it is up to you to decide what you want the star to be.

In the painting I did from the above photograph I chose to make the bridge of the boat my star.

Once I decided what the star of my picture would be, I could start eliminating or downplaying everything that didn't support my star.

Did I need to include part of the second fire boat behind the Leschi? Did I need to see the restaurant behind both boats?

How much of the many guard railings and other stuff on the boat did I really need to show?

As you can see, to create better art means I eliminated a lot of unnecessary detail.

You should too, because your mind needs very little detail to understand and enjoy what it is seeing.

Best Wishes,
Gary Gumble
Founder of
Without art the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable. (George Bernard Shaw)

P.S.  Notice I only included enough details to make the overall painting interesting without distracting your eyes from going to my star first.

What often happens when you don't create the star is all the detail in the painting or drawing becomes of equal importance.

When everything is of equal importance, nothing is important.

Which often equals boring.

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