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Omphaloskepsis Blog

Sergei Bongart: great painting punches you in the gut

Feb 26, 2010

Today Barbara Noonan introduced me to the work of Russian born, Bongart and I fell in love. Look at the piece above! I’ve been oggling the images in the catalog she lent me, but I haven’t had time to read it. It’s filled with wonderful quotes that ring true, that I subscribe to. So, I’m going to fill this blog with my favorite paintings and drawings from the book and quotes.

When you paint clothes, select the fold that will suggest gesture.


Man with a cigar

Paint all subjects. Paint your first impression, that first glimpse which excites you. Look at the subject and think about it. Does it cheer you, create a sadness, give sense of abandonment, or evoke energy and promise?


Brown Overcoat

Open yourself, be unique; you will create because Gawt created us all as individuals.


Thin shadows, heavy in lights

Artist needs to say something no one else has said.

Draw every day. Look at all masterworks.


Painting is drawing with color and form.


Art is more than product of your efforts– it should be about feeling, life attitude, soul.


Compete only with yourself.

Good balance is necessary for good composition.


Behind every good painting is a strong abstract design in color spots. Can’t see objects, only color spots.


You are here to learn–not produce paintings. Important to paint something from memory. Paint something you imagine.

Every good landscape has feeling, poetry, and drama. Paint what you see, not what you know. (same goes for the figure)

Good artist should be two people: one who paints and one who tells when finished. What you leave out is more important than what you put in.


Think about color and design, not story. If you can explain painting, it isn’t painting- it is illustration.


Never become artist if you can’t learn to draw


Every part of canvas must be interesting.


Contrast warm and cool next to each other.

Trust your eyes. Paint by feeling.


Paint for certain idea. Think about co-lor and design, not story. Real artist never paints story. Overstate, don’t be afraid; say something loud and clear.

Paint what instinct tells you.

The less inhibited you are the better.

Workshops help you improve what you already know.


Exaggerate light. Work always big to small. First you paint apple, then you paint worm holes. Relate similar passages to one another; never over model.

Good art always has moment of surprise.

Painting must always have lost and found edges. (I learned this from graphic design)


Category: Painting

Please add a comment

Posted by metin on
sergei bongart every time painted what he hearing from nature(humans,trees etc.)..
Posted by Brenno on
Thanks for this post and for the great blog! Do you by any chance remember what Sergei Bongart book you took the pictures and the quotes from?
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