Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Intermediate Homework 11/7/12 Life Painting

The moment I look up to see the model's latest pose I am eager to launch into a clear and simple interpretation, but many distractions have arisen by the time the beeper signals "time's up". I dare say most of us get seduced into trying to depict some subtle change of hue from one side of a shadow to another when we're only half way done with the big shapes. I usually end up with a much more complicated image than I intended. But, those disappointing paintings can be useful.
Without the model there to distract you, it should be easier to make a simplified version of the pose using your live work as a starting point. Those shadows, for example, can perhaps be laid down quickly enough to vary color without running into drying issues. And there's much more room to think and breathe with no timer running.
Give it a try. Maybe it will have a positive impact on next week's live session.

Beginning watercolor 11/7/12 Shadow Patterns on Heads

Look for a photo of a head that features a strong shadow pattern. Imagine it as a series of layers: First, an overall pale wash to represent the illuminated skin tone, into which color variations of similar value can be placed. Then, a shadow pattern, which can also be given soft edged variations, and, finally, the few darkest darks, like pupils and nostrils.

Keep it simple!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Beginning Watercolor: The Paint Itself 11/1/12

Stanislaw Zoladz                                        Lofoten

Intermediate Watercolor Where do I need hard edges? 10/31/12

We've all seen paintings that suffer from too many hard edges. Often, if we pay more attention to content than form, the individual parts of the scene insist on being kept separate. A hard edge is the best way to ensure that, but the result can be a jigsaw puzzle that is difficult to see as a cohesive whole.
Deciding which edges in the forest really need to be hard is tricky when we are all wrapped up in doing justice to the individual trees.

Working under the assumption that the best way to see if something needs to be in the painting is to leave it out, I recommend making a study that has no hard edges at all. When it is finished, the study will tell you where more focus is required. It also helps to have a limit in mind, say, half a dozen strokes, so you can identify the most important spots.

Ranch Alto                                            Tom Hoffmann

For homework, choose an image that has lots of shapes, and paint a version that is all soft edges. Part of the exercise is to practice the techniques involved in keeping the shapes blurry without losing definition altogether. The awareness skills that are at work include noticing as soon as a hard edge appears, and stopping right there. Then dry the paper, re-wet the relevant areas and continue.
Assess the study, with an eye toward where it needs greater definition. Make the hard-edged additions one at a time, and stand back each time to see if that's enough.