Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Working from a photo

This is the photographic image I used to create the painting on the post below. Nothing very inspirational but it does have strong shapes that aren't broken up into tiny pieces. In other words, it gives me solid masses in which to build a composition. Most of the detail is gone in the dark areas but in this case it was satisfactory and probably kept me from putting in a lot of detail that wasn't necessary.
Photographs are very limiting. The eye can see so very much more than the photo. I always study colors and values no matter where I go. It helps me when I have to deal with a photo like this where the colors and values have basically been reduced greatly from real life.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A few principals to follow

Here is an example of a simple painting that expresses distance. The center of interest is of course obvious but the eye is directed even more to that area because the darkest darks and the lightest lights are next to each other. Had that patch of sunlight in the distance been way over to the right, the eye would tend to bounce back and forth between those two points. As a general principal, the contrast should be greater in the area of the focal point.
This also expresses another principal. A painting should have a dominant area of color (the bluish sky), a sub dominant (the warm reddish earth and tree) and an accent (the yellow distant marsh)
These are principals, not rules.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Painting on Masonite

Here is a video I made about the panel boards I use to paint on. It's very economical and the boards are very nice to work with. One advantage in using masonite boards is they don't take up very much space which is great when traveling or plein air painting.
Be sure to cut most of your boards in standard sizes as frames are much less expensive to purchase that way. Many frame shops cut their scraps into standard sizes and sell them cheap. You can end up with great frames for a fraction of the cost.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Just to clarify

I am often asked about showing how I do the finishing touches to the paintings we air on PBS television. Some of the programs show me finishing the painting and some don't but the real lessons and basics are in the program. The finish is nothing more than poking around a bit with the small brush which isn't that interesting to watch. Really! It's getting the basic shapes, values and colors down in the first stages that will make or break a painting. The details are nice but are of much less importance.
So, in the programs I try to get the big picture of what's important. The details are just that, details. Like a few colorful sprinkles on an already tasty ice cream cone. Many paintings are ruined by worrying about detail. If the shapes, colors and values are strong you'll find that little detail is needed.