Monday, July 25, 2016

Wondering Eyes

Like it or not, we need to consider composition every time we begin a new painting. The composition is about arranging shapes in a pleasing manner within your picture.

Master artist: Edgar Payne wrote the book on composition called "Composition of Outdoor Painting." It's a must have book for any landscape painter. In it, he goes on to describe and illustrate 15 standard blueprints to build a composition. I won't list them all here but will point out how I incorporate his principals in my work.

A stable composition can engage a viewer, and a weak one won't demand any attention.  One can welcome a viewer into a painting, and another can become a road block or quick exit rushing them along to see someone else's work in a gallery.

The use of unequal distribution of shape and value are essential to creating interest. Strategic placement of brushwork, shapes, edges and contrast control how the viewer's eye travels within a design.

Dividing a space into thirds is an easy but efficient way of placing a center of interest/focal point. (Shown above).

The eye can bounce from one object to the next like a ball in a pinball machine. The goal is to design shapes that don't allow the viewer an easy exit. (Shown above).

To simplify, this can fall under Edgar Payne's "O" structure. (Shown above).

Title: Best Seats
Painted On: RayMar Archival Panel.
Medium: Artist Quality Oil.
Dimensions: 8x10 inches
Status: Available

Monday, July 18, 2016

Time Travel

Photo provided by collector.

Once in awhile, it's healthy to pause and reflect on our artistic journey. Artists go through many stages in their development. At the beginning trying to understand the language of art; learning to draw, decoding color mixtures and value relationships, design, etc. While acquiring that foundation of the fundamental principals, we may explore genres from abstract to realism looking for our artist's voice. 

Step into any art store and we are overwhelmed by a myriad of possible mediums to use. I have splashed in watercolor, dabbled in gouache, been bold in acrylic and adventurous in oil. Ultimately, arriving at what will be the tools of our trade.

Above, is an early example of one of my acrylic paintings done in the year 2000. It is full of vivid, saturated color the very characteristics that attracted me to acrylic paint.

A quote from the owner of this painting, "What attracted me to the painting was the use of the deep blue colors which I found soothing and relaxing. The colors blend beautifully." - Frank.

The palette is bright, energetic and brushwork loose and I love that. It straddles abstraction and representation. Two qualities that I still try to have evident in my current work.

My use of color has changed a little along the way. Currently,  I've been exploring more muted naturalistic color but still like to push saturation when I can in a painting.This painting was a natural part of my growth process. It was both a stepping stone and a milestone and for the style that it's in, it certainly holds its own.

For all of the qualities previously mentioned, I know this painting is still bringing enjoyment to its owner. I hope for many years to come.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Raise your Glasses

So many times in an open portrait studio setting its requested that the model removes his or her glasses. Followed by the comment, "Because it's so hard to draw glasses." Well, first you will never become good at drawing glasses if you don't practice. (Or anything else for that matter).

Second, glasses clearly reveal exactly how the head is placed in space. If you follow the front of the eyeglass frame where the lenses are and compare that angle to the temples (arms), you can have the head's perspective laid down quickly. The hinge of the frame can assist in deciding what the front plane and side plane features are.

In the diagram below, I used the hinge of the glasses to separate the front and side plane of the head. Based on the angle of the arm of the eyeglasses a cube in perspective can be established. Proportional divisions can be places if need be. I didn't physically draw a cube on my paper, but when observing the model, I superimpose the cube in my mind's eye.

This portrait is rather tame with its perspective. The more the head is tilted in space, the more you'll appreciate having the model wear their glasses.

Another thing to consider is that if you're going for a true likeness of a person find out if they wear glasses full time or only some of the time. Some people look completely different with and without their glasses. Eyeglasses can become part of someone's identity and character. Choosing to remove them can make an otherwise "correct" drawing still appear off in its attempt for a likeness.

Medium: Stabilo CarbOthello Pastel Pencil & General's Charcoal White
Paper: Strathmore Toned Tan
Dimensions: 11x14 inches.
Status: Available

Monday, July 4, 2016

Know Your Palette

Creating color charts is an eye-opening exercise that comes highly recommended by master artist Richard Schmid. Exact directions on how to execute these color tables are in his book Alla Prima. One of the best books written about painting in my opinion.

The purpose of the charts is to give the artist insight to how their chosen palette of colors interacts with each other. The charts then provide hardcopy color navigation to their color mixes. Understanding how your chosen colors interact is priceless information not only for the beginning artist but the advanced as well.

I don't use the charts for specific formulas per se but to support a visual memory as to which color combinations will get me closest to my desired target without convoluting the mix, in turn, helping accelerate the color mixing process.

Although a somewhat tedious job to complete, color charts can provide an incredible amount of information.  Depending on how many colors you use will determine how many charts, swatches and hours you will spend making them.

I'm currently using a modified double primary palette. Which is a warm and cool version of each primary color on the color wheel. Using just six colors plus white I tapped out at 500 swatches but could still mix a few hundred more if needed. This demonstration proves that a limited palette of color doesn't mean having a limited amount of choices.

I made these charts using acrylic paints on half sheets of canvas pad. Making them flexible, easy to carry and light weight.