Friday, January 28, 2011

Learning To Paint Like The Masters - Part 2

Now I'm on the "dead" layer.  Mixing white with a small amount of the local color, I paint over the lighter parts of the "bruno" layer.  I can make some minor corrections to the bottom layer, if needed.  If the value shifts are related to transitions in the form, use the same paint, but just thinner scumbling so the burnt umber of the bottom layer shows through.  If the value shift is a different object, use a darker value of paint. I broke this rule for the cup because it was solid white and I didn't what any of the burnt umber showing through.

The next step will be glazing with color.  As the glaze will make the dead layer darker,  it is better to err on the side of painting this layer too light.  After I photographed the painting I realized some parts need to be lighter.  Glazing next week.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I'm Not a Morning Person...

Scrub Pine
   but I will force myself to crawl out of bed at the crack of dawn for the right reasons.  Getting great reference photos is the best reason.  While visiting Provincetown, MA last summer, I was on the road before the sun came up.  Located at the tip of Cape Cod, this area is surrounded by ocean and light.

It rained the first three days of my trip, so I had to make the most of the little time left.  For me, early morning light is the most beautiful.  It always seems just a little softer than late afternoon light.  And you get some beautiful shadows.

Well, I finally got around to painting one of those special spots.

Monday, January 24, 2011

10 Steps to Becoming a Better Artist (from Kesha Bruce)

I'm stealing this from Kesha Bruce, so I hope I don't get in trouble if I give proper attribution and you visit her site.

1. Make some Art.
2. Make some more Art.
3. Make even more Art.
4. Make even more Art than that.
5. Make Art when you don't really feel like making Art.
6. Make Art when you REALLY feel like making Art.
7. Make Art when you have something to say.
8. Make Art when you got nothin' to say.
9. Make Art every day.
10. Keep making Art.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Learning To Paint Like The Masters - Part 1

I’m taking a kind of “back to basics” class.  We first stretched and primed our own canvas’ and then laid in a ground.  The ground was a glaze using a mixture of yellow ochre and raw umber for a nice warm gold.  I’m now working on the “imprimatura” stage of the painting, using burnt umber.  From Wikipedia - Imprimatura is a term used in painting, meaning an initial stain of color painted on a ground. It provides a painter with a transparent toned ground, which will allow light falling onto the painting to reflect through the paint layers.  Its use as an underpainting layer can be dated back to the guilds and workshops during the Middle Ages, however it comes into standard use by painters during the Renaissance particularly in Italy.
Imprimatura Layer
Next I work on the “dead layer" - the next step of the classical Flemish technique, also called the Gray Layer.  I paint over this layer with white and various shades of gray.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

I LOVE my new TV, but not for the obvious reasons...

My "Studio"
Today was a very productive day.  I redesigned my studio/bedroom around a TV. 

I while back, I decided to look for a replacement for my old clunky analog TV to 1) get a better screen and 2) get the built-in digital converter in preparation for dumping cable :-(.  At Best Buy, I noticed most had a PC input.  I think I stood in front of a TV about 20 minutes – not deciding which to buy, but trying to redesign my bedroom in my head.  My “studio” is at one end of my bedroom and I was figuring out how I could set up the TV for regular viewing, but most importantly, to use it as a monitor while I paint.  (If you work from photos, I strongly recommend using your computer monitor instead of prints.  The colors are more true, especially in the shadows.)

This morning, I built a stand with some scrap wood so I can put my laptop under the stand and the TV above.  I checked off the “Extend my Windows Desktop to this monitor” option and had one image on the TV and a second on my laptop.  The color was better than my laptop monitor and a thousand times better than working from prints.  I never had so much fun painting!!  With the big screen, it was like plein air painting but without the hassle. 

Now all I need is a little fridge and I have no excuse to leave my bedroom.  Oh, yeah; except to go to work.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Under the Knife

Tangerines and Tome
I'm finally getting the hang of the palette knife.  I started out as a watercolorist, so this truly is a big leap!!  I love the juicy paintings my fellow artists create with the knife so I tried for the first time last summer.  I fought the urge to pick up the brush and it is getting easier each time.

I have no problem putting in my large masses, but have a very hard time progressing to smaller areas and details.  The heal of the knife would unintentionally pick up paint from places it didn't belong and move it to places I surely didn't want it. 

There is nothing better to keep colors clean and pure.  As someone who still fights the urge to work the little places too soon, struggling with the knife in details makes them the last thing I want to do.  It is a very liberating little tool.

Here is my latest painting with the knife.  I'll admit I cheated a little and used a brush for some small spots, but other than that, it was all knife.