Thursday, May 11, 2017

Joshua Been lecture and demo

I went to a Joshua Been lecture and demo last Saturday at my friend Hai-ou Hou's place, Chesapeake Fine Art Studio. It was great. He basically has it down to a science, including figuring out a myriad of plein air gear and his approach to plein air painting. He has a very disciplined way, which I lack, that includes always doing a pre-sketch with four value markers before he starts painting. This neat little pack is what he uses to make black-and-white sketches. You can buy it on his website.

 

That pen with a little white sphere on top is what he uses to determine the precise direction of the light source. 

He breaks down the visual language into four elements, values, shapes, edges and texture. The values are the foundation and you lay it down by doing pre-sketches. I used to do it sometimes, like a thumb-nail sketch, but usually for my studio paintings, or figuring out a composition for my ideas. When it comes to plein air painting, there is this urgency because the light changes so fast, so I tend to jump right in. If the first composition doesn't work, I just wipe it out and redraw it, and that tones my canvas too. I almost like the chaos, the not-knowing, and the unpredictable nature of the process. My friend Janice has been doing these sketches. Maybe I should start making them now!

 

This is his palette on the day-tripper easel he designed and sell on his website. Janice already bought one. It's very lightweight. He only uses seven colors: titanium white, lemon yellow(missing?), cadmium yellow medium, cadmium orange, burnt sienna, cerulean blue hue, alizarin crimson, and ultramarine blue. No black. He starts the painting thick, no thinned washes.

 

This compact little thing is his fly-on-the-wall easel. It's good for painting in tight places where you really don't want to cause a scene! He used this to paint the dinosaurs in the Smithonian museum in DC. I like his dinosaur paintings.

 

 

And this little sunset(sunrise?) painting.

 

Then he did a demo, a larger piece from a smaller study. 

 

 

He's a great plein air artist, and articulated his methods clearly and wonderfully. I bought his book. It will come in the mail. Now the thing is go out there and do it myself!

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