Sunday, March 31, 2013

Beat The Clock

As you may know, I am an indirect painter and love the look of my finished paintings because of the glazing and layering achieved over a period of days-even weeks.  So today I decided to put the timer on and paint a small 8x10 still life in two hours.  You may ask why would I do such a thing.  Keep reading and I will tell you at the end.

So to begin, I put together objects that I was very familiar with--tangerines, cloth, basket, and my favorite port wine bottle.
Step 1:  Sketch in the elements.
If the images look "sketchy" it's because I taped a piece of willow vine charcoal to the end of a long handled paint brush.  I love the looseness that it achieved and I was able to visually see my image from a distance.  I sprayed the finished sketch with a fixative.
Step 2: Add a toner of ultramarine blue and transparent red oxide.

I have such great hopes for the success and the clock shows only sixteen minutes have passed.
Step 3:  Block-In
Honestly, I would love to stop right now and let the colors set up before going on but I want to meet the challenge I have set for myself.  One issue here is the canvas surface.  I am painting on Centurion Oil Primed DLX linen and the paint is slipping around and not grabbing the surface.  Another reason I would like to stop but push on the clock is running and an hour has passed.
Step 4:  Layering background and work wet edges into wet edges. Add the cool grayed blue foreground.

Last stage:  Refinement which means check values in the white fabric, check edges, and develop the tangerines.  Also decide how much details the basket in the background needs.
Spent time on the bottle and the strong reflections from the tangerines.  Remember, reflections are never as bright and defined as the objects creating them.  A little more refining and I think I can call this done.
The clock says it has been roughly two hours.  It doesn't feel like what I am use to but I have to remember, it is alla prima.  Why did I do it?  I will be doing a demo in a couple of months at my gallery in Fredericksburg, Texas.  When you paint in the indirect method, it is difficult to demo unless you just demonstrate a part of the process.  Sorry for not blogging lately.  No excuses except I've been in the studio and didn't really have much to share. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

OPA Blog

I was pleased this week to discover that my thoughts on stages of painting was published on the Oil Painters of America Blog.  If you would like to read the article click here and then click Blog on the header in the upper right corner of the home page.

I presently am working on another "Threads of Life" piece, as well as, putting my thoughts and procedures on color mixing down on paper and hopefully into a video.  Now that I have said it, I will definitely have to follow through. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Learning and Growing

It's been quite a while since my last blog post.  For me, my art journey ebbs and flows like the waters of our beaches here in Florida.  After months of daily painting, I felt a need to refresh myself with new information and strengthening my skills and knowledge.  This usually produces a different daily routine with little actual creation of new gallery quality work.  Even my writing goes on hiatus.  So what have I been up to?

Let me begin by saying that as a painter I am always evaluating my strengths and weaknesses and setting goals to move in a direction that I have deemed worthy.  Basically, I look at what I am good at and determine what needs to be improved in order to create paintings that say what I want them to say.  Upon close examination of my work, I felt I could improve on composition and design.    My studio is filled with paintings that are basically painted well but lack a strong composition that pulls you in from a distance.  Any professional, seasoned painter will tell you design/composition is critical.  My background on composition is not what I would like it to be and so I set out on a journey to fill that educational void.

By accident, I came across a school that offered intensive instruction in drawing, design, and color.  The Barnstone Studio seemed to fit the bill.  With further investigation, I discovered Juliette Aristides was a student of Myron Barnstone, the master teacher of this Pennsylvania school.  One of my students purchased some of the DVDs and from that I decided to invest in the experience.  As some of you may know I don't take workshops anymore because I believe we are our own best teacher and have to seek out the information we need.  The Barnstone Studio DVDs are intensive and require hours of work outside of just watching the many hours of instruction.  I'm excited by what I have learned so far, but I am a long way off from finishing the course. 

One element of the design portion of this course is the Golden Rectangle.  Now I knew that many of the old masters used the Golden Rectangle as an armature in design their paintings, and that putting your focal area in one of the four "eyes" make a more pleasing picture design.  That's about all I knew.  After watching, and watching again (four and five times) and taking copious notes, I have gained a better understanding of how to apply this concept - plus the other route rectangles - to compose the elements of my paintings.  Here is an example of some of these rectangles.

Looking at the diagrams above, you can see why it is taking me some time to become proficient at using this designing system, and why I have been so silent online. Is it worth the effort?  In one word, YES! More later, but for now it's back to the books and the DVD's.
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