Beware "superfluous diligence"

Beware "superfluous diligence."

Word to the wise to the many abject and slavish renderers of the "ateliers" of today.  Funny that words such as "noodling" are found as terms of derogation in good conversation about painting. Come to terms with the fact that some things are more significant, more important, than others in the visual rendering. They carry heavier loads and for that reason alone deserve to be treated with an intelligent prioritization. "Less is more" or doing more with less is the result of working to sort out what is visually important and what isn't. Your whole approach to painting will change once you get this, inevitably. As Sir Joshua Reynolds says:


"Let the power of a few chosen strokes which supersede labor by judgment and direction produce a complete impression of all that the mind demands in an object. We are charmed with an unexpected happiness of execution and tire of superfluous diligence which in vain solicits an appetite already satiated. We are pleased by seeing ends accomplished by seemingly inadequate means. The difference between two students of equal capacities and industry: while one is employing his labor on minute objects of little consequence, the other is acquiring the habit of seeing nature in an extensive view in its proper proportions, its due subordination of parts."  

- Sir Joshua Reynolds, The Eleventh Discourse

  "The Infant Hercules Strangling Serpents in his Cradle" Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1788


"The Infant Hercules Strangling Serpents in his Cradle" Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1788