Thursday, August 29, 2013

Art Tip #129



A few years ago I did a 10 Minute challenge for class.  As many times as I've painted an apple, I still learned & improved with each painting. Becoming familiar with my subject allowed color temperature, edge quality & brushwork to improve. Confidence in the understanding of the subject builds stronger paintings. Set a timer, chose a subject, paint at least 6 versions and focus for 10 minutes on each one. You'll be surprised a what you learn.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Art Tip #128

I'm late to post today because I've been battling a flu.  Urghhhh.  Fever, headache & writing a post just aren't compatible.   However, I did read an interesting post by Robert Genn and thought it was worth sharing.  Just click on the Decisions title to read.  Thanks to Mr. Genn for inadvertently helping out with an great Art Tip   He always has something insightful to say.  

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Art Tip #127


Notan comes from the Japanese and it roughy means the play between light & dark.  I use a 2 value notan to help me simplify & see if there is a strong & pleasing design.  I rarely paint in 2 values but it's a very quick exercise. If the composition works in black & white, then I'm good to go.  To take less than 5 mins. to do a simple exercise to avoid a bad composition, seems to me a no-brainer. I believe it's an invaluable tool & should be part of your painting process.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Art Tip #126

Art Tutorial 
Download the Lesson

I'm happy to share my process in creating fresh & painterly works in oil.  In this PDF downloaded demo, I will offer my approach in eliminating unnecessary detail, keeping your colors clean & your brushwork descriptive.  I discuss my process from the initial selection of my subject to the final brushwork.  I include how to avoid mistakes, a section about color mixing & brushwork.  It's a great tool to print & keep beside your easel as you work through your paintings. This art tutorial is available for $10.  Click the buy now button below & once the purchase is complete, you will receive the tutorial by email.  Be sure to include your email. I hope to have a new tutorial each month.  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Art Tip #125

Stepping Back

I've been working on an art tutorial for a download lesson. In the process of painting the demo, I hit a snag. I really felt my sketch was good and was ready to proceed. I quickly moved through the painting but it wasn't until I was almost done that I didn't like the foreground. To many similar shapes and a lot of foreground that didn't quiet work. Time to step back.  So I took a day off from this piece & reevaluated it this morning.  A few simple strokes at the end & problem solved.  I added a bit of bush/shrubbery shape to the bottom left side and a few strokes in the lane.  None of this was in the original reference photo but you have to do what makes the painting work not be married to your reference material.   See you on Tuesday with the complete lesson.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Art Tip #124

Out of the Comfort Zone

Here's the results of getting out of my comfort zone.  I've always taught oils but last week I had the opportunity to play/teach with pastels.  I had a blast. Being in the moment, playing with all so many colors without mixing. Having pastel dust all over me. So here's to breaking out & having some fun.  

I'm currently working on Art Tutorial of a oil painting. Hoping to have it available for Thursday's post. I wish writing the tutorial was as easy as painting one.  Until then, happy painting. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Art Tip #123

Shake It Up

I'm getting out of my comfort zone this afternoon & teaching a new student how to use pastels.  I've done them in the past but it's been awhile.  While preparing for class, I got that wonderful creative feeling.  You know the one where the juices were flowing & you're itching to dive in. I even pulled out my watercolors.  I think it's good to step out of our comfort zones every once in awhile. 

You don't have to try different mediums to shake things up.  Try something you've never tackled.  Anything from a subject you've never painted, or a new brush, or a different technique. Just do it for yourself.  Don't do it with the idea of having to share it with the world.  Rather approach it as playtime.  Pushing yourself is a good thing.  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Art Tip #122

Have a Plan, Work the Plan

I know that structure or having a plan feels like it takes the joy or spontaneity out of painting but I find it is the opposite.  Having mapped the painting out actually allows me to be "in the moment" when I'm at the easel.  My first couple of years painting, I was all over the place.  Never set my palette up the same way, no set palette of colors, diving straight into a painting. The results...poor paintings.  Of course, I was just learning but looking back, if I had a little more structure, I could have eliminated many headaches.  So here's my basic plan.

1. I crop my image (be it from life or photos) several ways before deciding the final version. This means never painting the entire photo/image.  Taking the photo, I crop it for a square, a skinny(1:2 or 1:3 ratio) vertical rectangle, a skinny, horizontal rectangle and usually (2:3 or 3:4 ratio) rectangle. I'm surprised what I find in this process.  Sometimes I can pull 2 or 3 potential paintings out. 

2.  Now time to do quick value sketches.  Editing the information that is not necessary. Asking myself if certain elements add or detract from the painting.  It's my sketch that I rely on at the easel, not the photo.  I will reference the photo from time to time as I paint. Many times, the photo goes away until the end of the painting process.

From  the original photo, I eliminated the cobblestone walkway, the fence line, 
the misc. potted plants, fence line & busy foliage in the background.

3. For students:  Pick your format.  Sounds silly but I'm amazed that students that will actually crop an image (i.e. a square format and then paint on a rectangle canvas).

4.  Mix my palette.  I generally premix between 85% to 90%.   This allows me the confidence that I have a harmonious palette and that my colors will be clean and brushwork descriptive.  

5.  Time to paint.  At this stage, I've eliminated the big black holes for a painting.  It's now about the application of paint.  If my head isn't full of design issues, drawing problems, incorrect values, bad color choices then I'm much freer in my application.  This is where the interesting & beautiful brushwork can flourish.  Choosing how to make a brushstroke is easier since I've already determined the correct value & color.

Students say all the time, I didn't realize that you had to think so much to be an artist.  In a nutshell, YEP! Hope this will start you on your own path.  Would love to hear about your process.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Art Tip - NOT!

"Around the Cake"

Unfortunately, my brain decided to take the day off without consulting me. I'm going to blame it on lack of sugar intake.   In the meantime, enjoy this painting by Wayne Thiebaud. I'll be back on Tuesday.