Painting by Numbers

That’s not a lighthouse, but the Summerville Coast Guard Station in Rochester. And it sold fast, so maybe they know what they’re talking about with this blue.

Maine lighthouses are among the most iconic of images. Does that mean that painting them is a good idea?

It depends on what you’re after and how you execute your work. Thomas Kinkade made a fortune painting lighthouses. Still, he died unhappy, and he’s unlikely to be remembered as a seminal figure in American art.
The problem with Thomas Kinkade isn’t that he couldn’t paint, and it isn’t that he spent too much time reading Komar and Melamid… it’s that all his buildings look like they are on fire. (Split Rock Light by Thomas Kinkade.)
Nevertheless, it’s perfectly possible to paint a sensitive, honest lighthouse or lobster boat. They are iconic for a reason: they speak to us of labor, of man’s relationship to nature, and of the sea.
Surf in Maine. Not iconic at all, and the size of a paperback novel. Oops. Oh, well… I still like it.
In Painting by Numbers: Komar and Melamid’s Scientific Guide to Art, the authors—who are themselves artists—set out to determine what were the “most wanted” and “least wanted” paintings in various countries. Most of the book describes, laboriously, the methodology of their polling process. It’s so absurd it’s funny.

America’s least-favorite painting is:

·         Paperback book size;
·         Thick, textured surfaces;
·         Geometric patterns;
·         Darker shades;
·         Sharp angles and bold stark designs;
·         Colors kept distinctly separate;
·         Gold, orange, peach and/or teal.
America’s most-favorite painting is:

·         Dishwasher-size;
·         “Realistic-looking;”
·         Outdoor scenes;
·         More vibrant shades;
·         Wild animals in their natural settings;
·         Persons in group, fully clothed and at leisure;
·         Fall scene;
·         Soft curves and playful, whimsical designs;
·         Colors blended;
·         Visible brush strokes;
·         Blue.
OK, that’s a lighthouse, and I personally like it. Well, I painted it, so I ought to. Whole lotta blue.
It turns out that lots of people like landscapes, and they also like blue. If that’s true, and if they’re also satisfying to paint, why turn our noses up at them?
Whether you want to paint an iconic view of Maine or something more individual, there’s still room in this summer’s Maine painting workshops. Check here for more information.