Jul 31, 2011

Painting Basics: A Plein Air Demo

About once a week I paint plein air. This time I brought along my camera to show how I approach painting on location. I want to show you one way I handle painting a landscape outdoors. Though I am calling this a plein air demonstration it is not truly a step-by-step demonstration. It is just a chronicling of my process at different stages as I paint to give you some reference.

Today, I will recount the process I took to get the painting of the scene you see to the left to show you how to approach painting plein air painting.   

Let's take a look.

Jul 24, 2011

Drawing Basics: Value relationships

It is easy to think of value as a stable element in a composition. For example, dark hair is dark hair.  An artist would always use the same value to paint the hair, right? After taking a look at a value scale that is set up in distinct steps it might seem so. But what effects does the environment have on the hair? Or more specifically, how do the values in the areas around the hair affect the look of the value level of the hair?

Today, we will look at one aspect of value relationships that can change the look of the image with a simple exercise.

Let's begin.

Jul 10, 2011

Color Basics: Using local color as an element of contrast

Here is another painting I have just started to work on. I want to demonstrate that color variation can be used to highlight or separate different parts of the body. It is tempting to want to paint the figure using one color for the flesh and adjusting the value using tints and shades to create the forms. To me, this is a mistake to rely on just the value relationships. For various reasons, our flesh expresses different colors in the skin at different locations on the body.

Today, we will look at one of those reasons why the color may vary throughout the body and see how we can take advantage of that to help separate the forms.

Jul 3, 2011

Quick Note: Copying as a way to learn to draw.

A master copy of a Rembrandt painting.
One way to learn to draw or paint is by looking at work by other artists and trying to duplicate the image. In grad school was I reintroduced to copying artwork to learn how to draw or paint. When I was young I used to copy from comic books or whatever else I liked for fun. I did not actively look at other work to see how it was done. I just drew what I liked. I did not realize that it could be a valuable way to learn.

It was in one of my figure drawing classes where I was first assigned to copy paintings done by established artists. There the goal was to learn how other artists accomplished tasks and resolved problems by figuring out how they did it. It was not easy and was sometimes frustrating but I did learn from it.