How to Create Drama in Painting?

To paint means to create drama. People love drama. But the drama should appear realistic. If it doesn’t appear realistic, viewer will get bored of it. That means rejection. You call it … Failure.

Reality is a Documentary. Drama is a Feature film. The story for both may be same.

To explain in more detail… lets take a story as an example, “How a poor girl from slum reached the heights of success”, this is the story line.

What is a Documentary?

If some one goes to that girl’s place, to record …where she was born, where she had grown, the school where she studied, the place where she trained, the people who helped her, due to whom she faced problems and finally makes an interview of her … if you do all these things in realistic places and people who are connected with her … It is a Documentary film.

What is a Feature Film?

If you do the same thing by creating same atmosphere in studios and outdoors, hiring professional actors to play real life characters and emphasizing the crucial incidents of her life, down playing not so much important things, giving a powerful beginning to the story, continuing with surprises, building anxiety and tension when the story is reaching towards the climax.. finishing with breath stopping moments … that is a Feature film.

Same thing applies to artists for working their paintings. They have to create drama in their works.

Artists paint in outdoors, they work from models, objects, photos and imagination. They try to capture figures, objects and all of those with proper perfection as much as is humanly possible. Depending upon the artist skill levels they may succeed to certain extent. Is it enough? Is there a drama? Without drama where is the surprise? Without that element of surprise how can we call it Art? If they won’t create drama in their paintings, they won’t surprise the viewers. That means failure.

This is the problem many artists usually face. That’s why whatever they work, however much they try, at the end they feel dissatisfaction, if not immediately it would be later. That’s the reason … even though an artist enjoys his work after he finishes, when he looked at it after sometime , he would start to feel doubt about the quality of his work. He will feel the painting lacks something but he doesn’t know what it is. This is a very common experience for most of the artists, whenever they see their past works.

The reason for this is … lack of drama. Failure at creating drama. In every art drama is essential. Without drama there is no art whether it is writing, movies, music, acting, dancing… If the drama creates the illusion of reality that would be more powerful. We call such a works great art.

But, the question is … how to create that drama in painting?

Again, we will go back to the story of a poor girl from slums who has reached the heights of success…

A girl from slum created a history. Interesting! … because she is a girl from slums! Usually we won’t expect that kind of thing. An IAS officer’s son selected for IAS we won’t give much importance for that. Because we know it’s common. There’s nothing to be surprised about. But if an auto driver’s son is selected for IAS … it’s a story. News papers flash that story on front page. People will talk about it with surprise. The reason … that’s unexpected. If an unexpected thing happens, if it’s harmful thing people will get shocked. Same way if that unexpected thing generates pleasant interest, it causes surprise. That is drama.

The essence of drama is …make ordinary thing extraordinary. To show it as extraordinary you have to make all surrounding things of it, in less light. That means not in much focus. Then that ordinary thing is elevated. Then refine its structure more and more. In art, refinement will be done with Value, Color, Texture and many more. Then drama will come. When viewers see that ordinary thing in an extraordinary way, on your canvas they feel surprise. Then your painting will become successful. In every art form this works.

I am repeating these words …’In art.. refinement will be done with Value, Color, Texture and many more.’

What are these?

Value, Color, Texture and many more of these belong to elements of art and principles of composition. This you call … language of art.

If an artist has understood the language of art, with that understanding if he finishes a painting, then he won’t get any dissatisfaction with his work whenever he sees it. Viewers also will get surprise for his work.

Surprise is the key element of Drama. To create a powerful drama on canvas, the artist must have an understanding of the language of art.

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