Thursday, May 28, 2015

Everybody's Homework; While the Sun Shines 5/28/15

As long as you get to it before Monday, it looks like there's a good window for plein air painting this weekend. You don't have to go far from home to get in some great practice. Look around for groupings of light, middle and dark value shapes. A juxtaposition like that may be nearby on a smaller scale than whole buildings or large landscape elements. Here's a study of a rhodedendron from Bill Teitsworth, for example:

The subject doesn't need to be grand or noble, or even picturesque to be paint-worthy. Looking for something that would make a good painting has very little to do with content. To a student of watercolor, the goal is to gracefully translate a piece of the world into the language of the medium - washes and strokes - and to give the paint a chance to display its fluid nature. 

Andrew Wyeth sees something in the shapes and values.


A humble still life by Marc Folly

If you run out of daylight, the shapes and value patterns can be just as inspiring indoors. I recommend having a single light source so the shadows will be simple to understand.

Noche, La Noria 

You can also paint outdoors, at night. A headlamp is good for illuminating your palette, or you can set up beneath a streetlight. It can be hard to really see your colors, even with a headlamp, so try limiting the palette to one strong warm ( transparent pyrol orange or quinacridone gold) and one distinctly cool dark (indanthrone or pthalo blue or dioxazine violet). Then you can focus more on value and color temperature, which is mostly what you can see in a night scene, anyway, unless neon is involved.

One way or another, paint from life this week, and have fun.

Mid term exam:

True or False?

1) The more you control the movement of the paint, the less it looks like watercolor.

2) The range of what will work just fine in a painting is much wider than you think.

3) "Color is only color according to its size, placement and density"   Charles Emerson

4) Abstraction deals in reality, realism is about illusion.

5) The medium is the message.

6) If painting isn't fun, you're doing it wrong.

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