Wednesday, January 4, 2012

To Vignette... Or Not to Vignette

Baby, It’s Cold Outside is a 24x12 oil done in open studio by Shirley Fachilla.

The vignette isn’t as easy as it might seem. Knowing when to leave a portion of a painting unfinished, knowing when to let your line, your shape just fade away is tricky.
It’s tricky because the empty negative space becomes a part of the painting’s composition. That emptiness can make the painting look unfinished or worse, awkwardly designed.
[For the art meanings of vignette, negative space and composition, please visit the Artful Definition page.]
It can also give work a freshness and structure that finishing out would not. So artists vignette. Manet’s Portrait of Mme Zola is a very classic vignette design; Berthe Morisot’s Girl with the Greyhound where the unfinished space becomes the light illuminating the room is not.
With Baby, It’s Cold Outside, the vignette was a way to avoid a portion of the pose that I found distracting and focus instead on the model’s very elegant face.


  1. Yes I can see why you left out the distracting part of the painting, it's very beautiful like this! Thanks for the explanations!

  2. beautifully soft and ethereal. a whisper. wonderful.

  3. Very well done. Vignette's are easier in watercolour, so hat's off to ya'!
    Have a happy creative new year,


Is it too early to send an invitation?

Pieces by (clockwise from left to right) : Susan Harlan, Janet Garner, Shirley Fachilla, Mike Martino and Topper Williams. So many ...