So, What IS a Speed Painting?

3 min read

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DA-Speedpaint's avatar
Some of you may be familiar with the art of Bonsai. For those who are not, it is the art of growing normal trees in containers, and grooming and shaping them for aesthetic beauty, generally with an attempt to replicate how that tree would look if allowed to grow to full size. While bonsai trees are grown from the same stock as any other tree (they're not genetically different), simply putting a tree in a pot does not make it a bonsai. It has to be pruned, shaped, groomed, and meticulously cared for to achieve something that can be labeled as such, and mastering the art takes a long, long time.

Just as bonsai are not just trees growing in pots, speed paintings are not just paintings done in a short amount of time.

Speed painting is the art of quickly depicting an idea by providing the viewer with the necessary textures and colors and compositional elements without going in and explicitly painting every one of them. It is beauty through imprecision. It is an expressive art form. The purest ideas for your artwork come at the very beginning of a painting when the inspiration is fresh.

If you find yourself carefully blending skin tones or drawing every blade of grass, you're doing it wrong! If you're doing a 2-hour Speedy du Jour and have your idea conveyed at 45 minutes, you're DONE. You should absolutely NOT take the rest of the time to refine what you painted! --not if you want to count it a speedpainting at least!

Does this mean your painting should look crappy when you submit it? No, of course not! :) While the work may not always be everything you hoped and dreamed it would be, especially if you're just beginning to speed paint, expressing your honest idea quickly is a successful speed painting! Skill at painting quickly and depicting exactly what was in your head will come with practice.

Given all of this, I'm going to go through the galleries (current SdJ is safe for now) and sort out work that doesn't meet with this description of speed painting. (Concept art is something I consider to be a longer form of speed painting. I expect it to be loose as well, or it won't be accepted.) I intend to be fairly picky with what is allowed, BUT, I believe that a speed painting done by someone just starting out that honestly strives for these ideals will still be accepted.

Going forward, SdJ's will also need to adhere to this definition of speed painting, or they won't be accepted.

If you've got any thoughts/questions/comments/addendums, please share them!

Bear in mind, this is a Speed Painting group! That's what people are here to see (and do), and that's what I intend to show!
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vodka0021's avatar
Thank you, How can I learn it from the very beginning?