Friday, April 30, 2010

A path

Painted in Easton yesterday morning. It was cold in the shade!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A sketch

It's me in Havre de Grace last year. It was late afternoon and the sun had a golden glow.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Green grapes

Okay, I'm not good at painting grapes. After initial block-in, I'm kind of lost at what to do. But grappling with it, I learned a few things along the way.

1). Translucent objects like grapes have a certain way of reflecting light. The light goes through them and comes out on the other side, making the lower, back part of the object lighter and more of the color of the light. Irises in eyes are the same way.

2). Do not paint grapes one by one. Group them. Let them merge into each other. Then use a few hard edges to bring out a couple in focus.

3). Do not make them all round and the same size. Sameness in painting is boring. Make their angles--how they come out of the stem--different too. The worst is making them look like individual glass balls in a cluster.

4). This is maybe the most important--at certain point, a painting stops being about the objects you're painting; it becomes more about itself. It's like you created this thing. It grows like a child, and the more it grows/develops, it starts to have its own needs. It starts to have its own life. So at a later stage of painting, it's helpful to take the picture, facing away from the things you're painting, and access the picture for its own merit. What does or doesn't it need? Does it stand in its own right?

I'm sure I've been told all of these things at certain point by different teachers or books, but when I come to the realization myself, the lesson is truly learned. I have earned it. Or like one of my teachers said: sometimes it's about fighting a good fight.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Scott Christensen Copies

I do copies to try to figure out how master artist does it. I really like how Christensen paints landscape. He paints simply, and his colors are exquisite and so much in harmony. He has a way to organize the information nature provides and make it into an appealing painting. I'm sure what he saw in nature is just like what we saw, full of clutter and unwanted things. He had to edit and redesign to make a painting. Even when the scene before you displays all the nature's beauty.

He said in his book that it's better if you made the slightest value change and still make the thing readable. It confused me for a long time, but when I did the copies, I came to understand that he meant the slightest value change within a value, or just a touch of temperature shift--the eye will read it as light or plane change, but the whole thing stays within your original value plan. It's not easy to do.

I did not use his three colors plus white palette. I used my usual 12 color palette.

The copies are not too bad--but the thing is to know what to do when I go out there and confront nature myself!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Little white house

oil on board, 12x9

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dunkin donuts

Oil on board, 12x9

Monday, April 19, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pink roses

oil on board, 16x12

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Watercolor workshop

Just finished Stewart White's watercolor workshop in Easton. These are what I did in the workshop.

The last one is done from a photo. I think it kind of shows it.

Stewart White does wonderful watercolors. He won the first place in Plein Air Easton last year. He recommended the book "Mastering Atmosphere and Mood" by Joseph Zbukvic. It's a really good book, especially with the idea of "watercolor clock". But it's now selling for over $200 on Amazon.

What I take away from this workshop? Practice, practice, practice! Watercolor is so different from oil painting. A lot of it is knowing when to do certain things with what brush. And the knowledge comes from experience.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010

Hydrangea still life

Oil on board, 14x11