Saturday, January 26, 2019

Beginning Homework 1/25/19 Shape first, then Texture

Take a long look at the image, below. 

What do you see first, texture or shapes?

Look at the green grass, for example. Does it register as a yellow green rectangle before you get lost in the rich variety of lights and darks?

To keep a painted version of the scene simple, it helps to start with the most general statement, in this case, a green rectangle. The texture of the long grass is of secondary importance. It would probably be best to keep all those swirling brushstrokes soft-edged, so they wouldn't get too busy and distracting.

In terms of technique, the overall green wash should be applied nice and wet, so it will stay wet long enough for you to add the texture without getting hard edges. As long as your strokes are soft, you can make lots of them without overworking the area. The soft edges become part of the general statement, where hard edges would stand out as separate entities.

This would be a good passage to practice. You could make a couple of versions of just the grass, out of context. The mountain would also benefit from a wet into wet treatment. In both cases, try thinking of the initial wash as your whole water supply. You can make the second and third layers -  the middle values and the darks - by just adding more pigment to your brush, not more water. It can be hard to remember that you don't have to wash your brush before you darken what is on your brush. It helps to push your water bucket out of reach as soon as that first was has been applied.

Here are a few more images that present opportunities to look for shape first. When you are ready to apply some texture, you can proceed by increments, stopping often to assess whenever you have done enough.

Note that the barn roof shape has soft-edged texture - the rust stains - but it has a hard-edged profile. The same could be true of the dark trees, below.

Use good paper for these studies. The back of a failed painting works jus fine. You can fill a page with various attempts. These are studies, not paintings. 
Have fun

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