Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Here's a small painting demonstration I did for a student, oil on wood, 8 x 12 inches. My reference was a picture of an old black and white photo. What I wanted to demonstrate was how quickly and loose I can establish a painting while making-up color from the black and white photo. I wanted the student to begin seeing color as a personal decision that each artist decides for him/herself. As you develop your voice as an artist, so will you develop your voice for color. I first covered the panel with a cool blue-ish mid tone. I then blocked-in my dark shapes, then continued on to the mid tones and highlights. The whole time I wasn't trying to nail a certain color. In fact, I almost pretented to be color blind. I approached it more as something I was looking at in terms of cools and warms-- cool colors vs. warm colors. In fact, I really didn't pay too much attention to the color I was mixing. I was mostly concerned about, "Is it a cool color or is it a warm color?"
I did this painting on sight on the University of Arizona campus. I set up my French easel on the sidewalk and caught the last hours of the day. It's a good example of a painting that didn't make it's way to the finished stages. I decided the unfinished look of this painting was its strength. By stopping at this stage, it also reveals my process of how I approached this painting. I started with toning the wood panel using a warm brown with some turps, letting it dry slightly, then wiping it off with a rag, leaving behind an overall tone as seen in the final piece. I then began establishing the drawing with paint and a brush directly on the panel, blocking in the shadow shapes. Though, I haven't a coined process when beginning a painting, I did choose this technique because I new it was fast and I didn't have a lot of time before the sun went down. The only thing I did when I returned to my studio was to add the moon in the background. I did this by lifting out of the toned background with turpentine. The moon was originally there, just on the right of the bell tower. I took the liberty of swapping it over to the left to create a stronger composition.
It's a good example of knowing when you are finished and walking away from it. You should be able to have a finished piece of art at almost any stage in the process. It's something to keep in mind when you are painting or drawing. The finished art may not always be what you had premeditated. Open up opportunities for chance or unexpected pleasantries, or what Bob Ross refers to as "happy mistakes." This idea goes beyond just simply managing your mistakes, or correcting them. Even more, you are now orchestrating them. It will give you a more profound appreciation for your process.
Thursday, October 2, 2008
This is the intersection of Congress St. and 5th Ave., downtown Tucson. Commissioned by Peachtree properties. It is a pencil drawing of the building before it was completed. Another will follow after the completion of the rather large project. The second of the series may even be a finished oil painting, but is sure to show a lot more life and activity as far as cars, buses, birds, pedestrian traffic, etc.