Search This Blog

Friday, March 29, 2013

Using Edge as an element in a painting

This month's project is on using edge as a visual element in a painting. Any visual approach is acceptable.
The easiest way to describe edge without going into too much technical detail I am going to pull from Kevin's book again. The book is "A Visual Palette."

"Edge is an effective tool for blending or separating contiguous shapes. Ad the boundary between shapes, an edge acts like a fence, which may be tall and intimidating or low and more accessible. Edges come in a variety of sharpness and softness. A sharp, bold edge works like a solid brick fence: it restrains the eye and confines it within a given shape. When an edge is completely annihilated, it allows the eye to freely access adjacent shape."
John Singer Sargent
John Singer Sargent handles edges beautifully. Two wonderful examples in this portrait of soft or lost edge can be seen in the way the shading on the man's right hand (on our left) blends into the inner sleeve of his jacket;

the other more obvious lost edge is his right trouser leg right below the knee where there is no discernible edge or line yet your eye does not lose its way and the leg is still there. The hard edges are beautiful here too with a wonderful flow of the figures stance giving us, the viewer an insight into the man's personality.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Orange: working on edges

Orange, 6x6, oil on board
My husband remarked upon seeing this little study that it was in the style of Rembrandt. I appreciate that he would say that; I think it is the black background that gives it that feel, but to be in the Rembrandt style was not intentional. This is a Cara Cara orange that seems to be plentiful this year in the stores here in Denver. I had bought a bag at Costco and found this one with the stem still on it in the bag. Not something you see very often on store bought oranges and I felt it helped with visual interest. I used this as a warm up to the next assignment that will be "edges." I tend to paint rather hard-edged and on this study I tried very hard to avoid that. I have the orange fading into the background on both sides and softened the edge on the bottom . I think it helps that I painted on raw wood. The paint tends to not flow that well. You must be very direct to get the paint to stick. Pardon my finger print in the upper left hand corner. OOPS.

In this piece I was painting with the limited palette that is attributed to Anders Zorn, a Swedish painter from the early 1900s. The palette uses Yellow Ocher as Yellow, Red Cad Light, black and white. Black is used as the blue primary color. I have been fascinated with the range you can get using these three colors. I was pleased with the orange I got even if it was not as bright as it would have been using one of the cadmium yellows. It was a fun little exercise.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Color as a Visual Approach in blue

Along the Adriatic, 24x24 oil on board
As I wrote last week, this project is Color as a Visual Approach. I chose an easy one to do in blues, since most of it already tended toward blue if it wasn't outright, like the sky and the sea. The only thing I really had to work at was the sand and the woman's face in the sunlight. It is reading as sand, but that sand actually has a lot of blue in it, making it a greenish color. See patch below and how green it looks on its own. BUT next to all the other blues, it still reads as sandy colored. Her face is basically the same pasty green but it reads as if it is in the light. This has been a good exercise for me. Even though the sand in the shadow has a lot of oranges and greens, the over color is blue if you squint down. That is the key. To use your whole palette and still keep the over color bluish.
Kevin critiqued this at the end of Monday's class. He likes it but said two things need to be done. The tire tracks on the right hand side are too soft and need a bit more graphic quality to them to match the overall graphic feel of the piece and to tie the shapes in the sand to the bicycle.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Color as a visual approach

This blog post is pulled mostly from Kevin Weckbach's book, "A Visual Palette." We are doing color this month and are now half way through. In the next post I will include my painting, which is in blues.
Picasso, blue period. Note that the blues are different.

Color as a visual approach promotes the theme of one color throughout a painting, in a way that emphasis's that color's unique range and diversity. For example, you take blue as your theme and create a visual statement based on an arrangement of various blues: bluish yellow (yes, it will look green), bluish grays, bluish blacks and pure blues. You might include cerulean blue, cobalt blue, thalo blue and or ultramarine blue. With each new blue, you define a new shape. This results in a painting that reads overall as blue, with an orchestration of seperate color statements lending depth and richness to the canvas.

Because of the diverse arrays of blues, this approach differs from that of color harmony., which typically unifies a painting's surface using one dominant color. In order to make color work as a visual approach, you will need to build it on a foundational value structure. A light and shadow or local tone can form as the underlying  framework for the color. When color dominates a painting's statement, the whole painting will first say blue to the viewer, before addressing the underlying visual structure, and it will do so not in one blue note but in a symphony of blues.
Quang Ho 20x20, Yellow Dancer
Above is a contemporary example of using the color yellow as a visual approach. Picasso's blue period is another good visual definition for examples of using blue.