Friday, June 17, 2022

As You Please

 The tradition for the final homework of the term is for everyone to send a piece or two of finished or unfinished work. If you like, here are a few provocative images that you are welcome to use for copying or interpretation.



From many, one. Start with one big. pale shape and add color: light, middle, dark.


                                      This Monogram value study is already done.


                                                                    



This one would welcome a  limited pallet treatment, one warm, the other cool




Friday, June 10, 2022

Color by Instinct

 



Let's select one of these paintings and simplify the shapes like we did for the monochrome studies, only here w'll copy the colors as nearly as we can. Use as many colors as you please. As an example, in the first image on the right side, there are three different groups of trees, two tall ones and one short. If you have made all three the same what would be an economic way to correct that? As you can imagine, this exercise will benefit from using lots of practice paper.









That's it. Pay attention to your technique. Do you adjust the color temperature or the hue to correct  your colors? How do you lighten your colors? How does adding the compliment of a color change the mixture? How do you avoid running out of colors? Have fun!


Friday, June 3, 2022

Monochrome Value Study

Please read this more than once.

Making a single color study is a valuable tool for any medium. It is a powerful first step toward abstraction. it can reveal the compositional relationships between shapes. It can measure the role of color temperature in creating an illusion of space.

Like most studies, monochrome value studies begin by locating the major shapes. Drawing helps, but don't get carried away. At this point we need to know where the shapes are, not what they are.  Struggling to identify the components prematurely leads to overpainting and to a degree of complexity that is often not necessary.

Choose a color that can get dark enough to represent black.  Dilute with water to lighten your color, and enrich with pigment to darken it. How many steps your value study takes is usually determined by the complexity of the source image. 

    The relative simplicity of this image suggests a three step study;
 the light of the waves and some of the clouds, the middle value of the beach and some of the sky, and the dark of the sea stack and the shrubs.

     

This puddle scene, below. could also be given a simple treatment; light, middle, dark, but the subtlety of the middle value shapes would be lost. It looks like a five step study would be more appropriate; white, light, middle, dark, black.


   

Here are a few more;   Let  the study dry between layers.






If you're crazy enough to try painting the rainbow, I recommend practicing.





Thursday, May 26, 2022

I'm Just Playing

During our critiques and especially after, when I make the rounds and discuss your work one on one with you, I often hear the comment that you are "just playing". I know the idea is that you are experimenting, taking chances, but there is also a bit of  the suggestion that this is not your real work and should not be judged. 

I hope I can always encourage you to take chances and be inventive, even if it means in part that you risk being taken seriously. Who is the main judge, anyway?

I also hear "If I did that again, I'd do that part differently". Do you hear the opportunity in there? Imagine if you really did do it over again every time you said you would!

For homework, please find a painting among those from the last couple of weeks and identify a passage that would benefit from some analysis and paint it again.

Feel free to be playful!

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Trees and Freedom

 When a visual artist identifies where they need to be specific and where they can generalize, then the freedom to invent and have fun with the subject is revealed. Most often, these moments involve developing an understanding of how much descriptive information the hypothetical viewer really needs.

If your painting is green in the lower area and blue in the upper, chances are it's a landscape. With that important piece of information gained  it doesn't take much to tell what the dancing forms below the sky actually are. 


Here's an example; 













And another;






What portion of the  trees  needs to be present? Are some parts more important than others?
Oh, what do you say, how about just one more?

For homework, select one photo to work from and paint a refined image that includes only the essential information.

   

Saturday, May 14, 2022

 The Sky

How much do the skies differ in your landscapes? Do you work on some paintings with a snarl on your face and others with a grin? Do you have a standard cloud pattern that you use on all your work?

For homework, make a painting with two different skies. You may need to make it one that has nothing but sky above the horizon, so you can just set the second sky on top of the first for the photo. Then send both images to your monitor. 

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Full saturation


  The darkest darks in this image are approaching opacity. Any more pigment in the mix and the paper would be throughly masked. But don't back away yet! Some of the most beautiful passages remain to be laid down; the red barn, the warm grey fence and the cool grey window wall. There is still room to use  color and value to contrast the shadows and the sunlit areas.

Too often we stop short of  the real limit, thinking the paint will lose its sacred transparency.  The demo this afternoon was designed to encourage you to deliberately broaden the range of what is acceptable . If you stay out of the water bucket your paint will get darker and thicker by definition.



You can experiment with how to use the fact that watercolor dries lighter than it appears. Make a wash  of a powerful dark to cover the snow. Now add some super dark, made from pthalo blue and transparent pyrol  orange, and use your homemade black to make the tufts of grass and saplings.


Here are a couple more to try. Make the darks  as dark as you can , then make an even darker dark after that one dries. You should find just enough to make a layer that that is thick and dark enough to  make profound depth  but still fluid enough for the strokes to flow into each other.