Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Back To Basics

If you are like me, you have accumulated tubes of paint in a myriad of colors.  The instructor of every painting class I've taken has a preferred palette.  And of course, I go out and buy the colors I'm missing.  Developing the skill to create the "correct" color is my current quest, but I think all these tubes of paint are just a source of confusion.  So last weekend, I went back to the basics.  Cad Red Medium, Cad Yellow Light, Cobalt Blue, Black and White. 

My homework was a self portrait and I did all the skintones using these colors.  My decisions were simple;  make it warmer, cooler, darker or lighter.  Usually, my decisions were more complicated; do I add Cad Yellow Light or Naples Yellow.  As a side note, many of you were probably taught to remove black from your pallete and to make a chromatic black.  I don't know the chemistry behind how all those Windsor Newton colors are made, but I bet some are made by mixing black!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

"An artist sees what is significant..

A painter sees only what to paint."  This quote is by David Leffel from a book I'm reading, Oil Painting Secrets From a Master.  Just because you have been blessed with the sense of sight, it does not mean you have the ability to see as an artist.  When you think about paintings that hold your attention or inspire you to push your skills, it is probably not the details, but what was left out, that inspired.  It may have been the planes of light, the ability of the artist to capture the predominant features of an object, how the artist kept you focused on what is important in the painting.

A great way to eliminate some of the complexity of painting is to practice with just white objects.  This will take the challenge of capturing accurate color out of play.  It helps you focus on the composition, emphasizes how lights and darks guide the eye, and, of course, the importance of strong values.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Don't be So Negative...

Art is one place where we always want to be thinking "negatively."  Negative space, that is. Getting a good composition means being sensitive to the negative space, the shapes it creates, how it frames the key subjects, and how it keeps the eye flowing back into the painting.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Drawing 101

In an effort to get some "street cred", I enrolled in a certificate program at RISD.  At first, I regretted not waiving the Drawing 1 class, but not now.  Learning how to really SEE your subject is so important and the techniques had gotten a bit rusty.  I read about Richard Schmid and a painting he did of salt/pepper shakers.  He was so focused on understanding the shapes in these objects, he didn't realize he had painted a small self portrait in the reflections, until he finished.