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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Last week of February-class etc

I did not go to class Monday night; I was just not feeling well. I did go Thursday for a few hours with my sketch book only, but I just could not get the head to read right, so I did a nice set of lips and just the lips with the edge of the nose coming from the eye ridge and that actually looks like the model! Today's notes will only be on the lecture. Mark emphasized that on Monday nights we are to do some free exploration of the parts we want to paint through drawing; ie, draw the eye; or do a study of the ear, getting to know the subject before trying to paint it for no more than an hour. Tath if we do this, when we start to paint, we will have a handle on those parts and the painting will come much easier. And then on canvas to focus on the 6 basic elements and getting those down on canvas.Those 6 elements are the skin color in the light, shadow and reflective light; and the color/value of the background light and shadow; and the cast shadow. the challenge is to put something together that is lively with these few elements; Sounds easy enough...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fall out from class

Oh, tonight a fun time was had by all. Mark was on a roll. I couldn't tell if he was just so fed up with us or what, but he sure clarified some things in my mind. The first thing that really clicked in for me was when he gave us a "test." A test I failed. But once I realized what he was getting at, made so much sense; and that is this: If you are painting a form in the light and you want to show that form, but to keep the light as light, yet read as form, to keep the values within the shape the same, but transition with a shift in temperature - it a variation of the concept that Kevin has us working on in this month's gradation exercise. For example: in the skin tone, the brightest color in the studio classroom at the top end of the spectrum might be a cad red mixed with cad yellow light, the next step down would be cad red mixed with cad yellow; then cad red with yellow ochre; alizerin crimson with yellow ochre to a purpley mix or a terra rosa with yellow ochre. Never changing the VALUE, just the color. Amazingly, he said I was on the right track with that at the end of class. His comment was that I was not being bold enough with my shadows and my background color. The other thing which I really must make the time to do is color charts; he is right that they do save you time in the long run, and adding colors to my palatte that I am not used to using (like Terra Rosa) it would be beneficial. The last thing, which really was the first of the evening, was that if I ever want to be a portrait painter, which I told him I am not interested in being AT ALL, was to paint the portrait from where I judge the relationships not necessarily from where I am standing at my easel. For instance, my background being as light in value as I had made it was actually correct from where I was standing, but not when I stepped back to compare my color relationships. that is why the master portrait painters held a palette with a thumb hole as they would mix the color from afar and then go apply it. Pat brought up paradoxes when we were sitting around talking, and this is one of those paradoxes for me. He says to set up as close to the model as you possible can so you can see what it is you are painting, but to then "paint" it from afar. I do get that if a painting doesn't read well from a distance it doesn't matter how well it reads up close as most people don't get up close unless the painting draws them in. that in itself is helping me to exaggerate relationships of color and value even if I am still a bit timid in the application of it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

another scary start

Tonight, I accomplished the first cardinal rule and that is my canvas is covered. I stepped back down to an 11" x 14" board. Since the model did not get up on the stand until an hour after the start time, I think I did well. Unfortunately, that is about all I can say for it. I did exaggerate the eye even though I had a profile tonight not the 3/4 I was directed to do. In the painting, I did notice the ear is too small compared to the drawing and the neck is to thick, among other things. I am posting the drawing I did first, as I need to see just how far off the drawing in the painting is. I did the drawing in just over one 20" session, so I did that faster, but this is one hard angle with added foreshortening. Not too many things to think about! I may have to start the painting over on Thursday now that I have a clearer eye - the painting is not even close to the drawing as far as proportions go.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Block in for Kevin's February assignment

I was able to sketch out the painting and block it in yesterday. I did have fun getting this far and the block-in got me thinking about gradation and how I wanted to approach it. Even though in my sketch I had thought quite a bit about gradation, putting paint on canvas had me thinking about it some more. This block-in is not quite true to color or value overall. Some things are lighter than they should be and some are darker. I did start to paint on it today and I had thought the sky was close to be correct, but after painting it in today I think it is too light and too blue; I want to gray it down. Walking the dog this evening with the sky ready to snow, I studied the color; it was very close to how I remember the sky in this painting, although this was fog. I am having fun, and I am happy to be painting this scene at last. I had done a quick sketch of this exact scene on-site; this was a town I thought was very paint-worthy but we were there as an aside.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

MD Thursday class

first, let me start out with the comment my beloved children remarked about my start from Monday night's class when they were over for dinner Wednesday night: "Scary." There is nothing like offspring to keep you humble and in your place. And on that note, the painting is still scary.

The first hour of class was taken up with perspective as one of the other students was struggling with that and how it applies to the head. Mark was on a roll tonight. I saw him first thing and then not again until 10" before the end of class. First, and I knew this was coming, I was nailed for leaving all that white space in the background; that is cardinal rule number one, and I know it. You cannot get the correct value relationship if you are constantly relating to the white of the canvas (and Mark frowns mightily at tinted canvas). So it took me two sessions of the model to get all the white covered - I think I will go back to a smaller canvas for awhile and try to stick with the head/chest area. I have been biting off more than I can chew in the time alloted. Especially as I am not working any faster yet. When he came back my way 2.5 hours later, he remarked that I had not left enough space between the eyes. In the 10" remaining he showed me how to "see" that I must exaggerate the width between the eyes. And to draw the whole elipse of the iris and then paint the eyelid over it. I was instructed to pick another 3/4 view of the head next week and try that out for myself - to stop "dinking." One of the pointers that came out of the perspective lesson was that the interior point of the eye is lower than the exterior.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

MD Class 2-9-09

I decided to take Mark at his word and brought in a canvas pad instead of a canvas board to do a color study. This pad is 16"x20." Most of the class work so far I have done on 9"x12" or 11"x14." Since I don't always complete the smaller works in one night, I am not surprised I didn't get this covered. I did intend for it to be a "study" after all. Her hands are incomplete (think shape and plane) and the left one appears to be floating (picture a shapely thigh), and her eyes I wiped out without time to put them back in - poor thing is blind now - but I do believe I got a good likeness and I am trying very hard to think about the planes of the face. I forced myself to go darker than I would normally tend to do although I see in this photograph that her neck is still way too light as is the reflected light on the back of her upper arm. I do think that is a good nose and that the overall structure of her head reads well. And I am probably setting myself up for disaster thinking so... .

Sunday, February 8, 2009

First Saturday

I have nothing new to show this weekend. I did not paint on Friday due to still being “out of sorts.”
Saturday was Kevin’s Saturday class where we go in and get the assignment for the month. Kevin has a way of instilling excitement into these assignments which is why I think I choose to do them even if I don’t always get the assignment done in the month assigned. This month we are to do a local tone painting and add gradation to it. Local tone is breaking a painting into three value groups, like the black and white and gray under-paintings I did back in September. Local Tone can be very flat in appearance, like Bonnard; or you can add form, where there still is no sense of light and shadow, but there is a subtle shift of value within any shape; and now with gradation we will be adding dimension. Here in Colorado it is very hard to find a local tone day as we get so much sun and being a mile high, it is very intense. But if you have ever visited in Europe, a gray or misty day provides a lovely local tone scene. Therefore I have chosen to do a scene from my last trip to France. Interestingly enough, I was in Kevin’s year long master painting class at the time of the trip and that month we were studying local tone so I took every opportunity to sketch it or photograph my understanding of local tone. I have marked on the sketch how I see the gradation happening in different shapes. the sky will still read as one value, and it is the lightest value, but it will subtley move from a darker light value to a lighter- I think from right to left...

After class, Drew and I went to the DAM to see the Blumenschein show before it leaves Denver today. Drew had not been to it yet and been chastised by Mark Daily for not going. Since Drew and I carpool to Kevin’s class, and I did not mind going back for the third time, we stopped on our way home. Much to my chagrin, it was “Free Saturday.” The art museum was packed! However it was gratifying to see so many people enjoying the museum even if it meant we had to wait for openings in the crowd to get close to see Blumenschein’s mastery up close. You don't have to like his subject matter to appreciate his use of color. although I must admit, I have become a convert over my three visits to this show.

Friday, February 6, 2009

2nd study

I am having a very "off" week. I disliked what I had done on Monday so I decided to just do a head study last night. It was not any easier but I feel a bit better about the results even though I did not complete it. I am still doing the same things "wrong." Not keeping my shapes simple enough and dinking around too much. He came around at the end of class and put in the orange where I had a more reddish orange color. He grayed down her neck shadow although it isn't that different than what I had it. He showed me that a thin (I can't even see it in this photo) line between the purple background and the side of her face turned away makes the face rounded; I had put in a bluish color and he said it needed to be warmer as the plane is still receiving light as it turns away; he used a greenish color. He also darkened her eye sockets (and enlarged the shadow shape) before adding the orange there. Mark also showed me that if I would exagerate the color how effective it can be. On her ear lobe he pushed the purpley color I had there to a darker purple red and then hit the bottom of the lobe with a dash of red. It is exciting. Which is why I am in the class. He definitely knows how to make colors vibrate.

I am so ready to go back outside and paint the landscape! It is a beautiful day today but just too windy.

I have been working on some other paintings; just not ready to post them. They are not new; just trying to improve what I already have.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

First week of February 2009

Here is my start from last night. I will not judge it, but I will offer my observations thus far. It is boring and I did not succeed in the shadow color. I just could not "see" last night for whatever reasons. Amazingly enough, the model liked it. I had really wanted to do just an upper torso so I could concentrate on her face but I couldn't settle on a composition I liked. And I like the pose.