Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
|Engine Order Telegraph 7x5" ink on Bristol|
As for problem solving when it comes to art, try using your tools. Sometimes I find myself stuck, trying to figure out how to do something. Nine times out of 10 there's something nearby that will help me solve my issue. We've all, most likely, used a butter knife for a screwdriver. We've all used our teeth to open stuff, even though that's a REALLY bad idea. For the sketch above I was struggling with making a circle. I have templates and a couple of compasses that I never use and, sadly, I'll admit that it took me a few minutes to think of those tools. The one compass broke, the other was rusted shut, seriously. The template was too big so I was right back where I started. Ready to give up I rolled my eyes at my situation and they rolled right in the direction of a couple of cameras sitting on a shelf. The lens on one of those cameras looked like it would be the right size and what do you know, magic. I used the front of the lens for the larger circle, traced around it, then flipped it over for the smaller circle. The cool kids might refer to this tool as a Bronson rock. The TV show Then Came Bronson, Michael Parks's character, Jim Bronson, fixes his bike with a rock, thus Bronson rock. As long as you have a Bronson rock laying around you can fix anything. You don't always need the fancy, expensive tools, you just need to use your problem solving skills.
Tuesday, February 27, 2018
As for the tip today, we've all heard people say something like, get out of your comfort zone. Then there's the "creature comforts". What's so comfortable about creatures? Creatures are supposed to make you uncomfortable. Anywho, the tip comes from John F. Carlson and it's about how you should avoid creatures and comforts.
"I have often told my students that if they would only spend as much time arranging their motif-eliminating, sacrificing, moving-as they do upon just the painting of the thing, the road to mastery would be much shortened. Most of the time I find students have planted themselves in some place that was "comfortable," or near some friendly fellow-student rather than at some place from which their selection or motif was at its best. After a time the student can, of course, paint "any old thing" from "any old place" (even indoors), but the beginnings have to be beginnings, and the student cannot start where the master leaves off".
This one can be tough for beginners because they want to have that safety net of having a fellow painter nearby. They want to be close so they can ask questions or have conversations. Here's an idea; when you go out with a group of friends to paint spread out and find a good composition, work on your painting then make plans to meet up after and discuss the paintings. You can do something similar in the studio or in class. If you're in a class try to finish your entire painting before you ask questions. You'll force yourself to problem solve on your own.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
|"Glass Bowl Challenge" Candy Conversation Hearts 7x5" watercolour on Stonehenge Kraft paper|
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
|Late afternoon on the Frozen River 5x7 watercolour on Stonehenge Kraft paper.|
Late Sunday afternoon I took Petey for a walk and then set up to paint. I've heard all of the stories about how you simply can't paint with watercolours in the winter. Evidently it was one of those things I had to find out for myself. I think my problem was that I started too late in the day. The temperature drops really fast when the sun starts going down and the wind didn't make things easier that day. Didn't matter, I was determined to paint.
Here's my setup and the orange arrow is pointing to one of my latest and greatest additions to my plein air set up. It's a kitty litter mat. I picked one up at Menards for $1.99 thinking it would help keep my feet warm while I painted in the colder months. Sometimes my thinking really pays off. While painting someone stopped and talked to me (aka interrupted my work) and I stepped off the mat to chat. I noticed I was getting colder and couldn't figure out why. Then it hit me, I was standing in a couple inches of snow where moments ago my feet were warm because they were standing on that little mat. It's hard to believe but it makes a huge difference. Surely any mat would work but I chose this for the price and that it can easily be cleaned off and rolled up and put into my bag.
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
|Notan to check the composition before starting.|
|45 minute sketch of some naked trees by the river.|
I enjoy Steve Mitchell's videos, they're fun and informative. He approaches watercolour differently than I do but I always walk away with a useful technique or idea. This is a 40 minute video where he demonstrates and discusses how he approaches bare winter trees. There are five things I wanted to point out that I think are extremely helpful in this video.
- Aerial distance- He discusses how to achieve this and it's a pretty important topic if you're a landscape painter. A lot of people refer to this as aerial perspective. It's basically how you make objects, in this case it's the trees, appear to sit farther back in the distance to give your two-dimensional painting more depth. There are a few easy ways to do that. In his video he makes the distant trees more bluer and grey.
- Get reference material- This one is a must. Painting can be stressful enough but then add pulling something out of thin air on top of that and you're setting yourself up for disappointment. By no means do you need to copy the reference material, just use it as a guide or a starting off point. Something to give you ideas or clues as to what to do with your painting.
- Stonehenge Aqua- He's using Stonehenge Aqua 300lb cold press paper in his video. I used Stonehenge Kraft paper for my sketch. Stonehenge Aqua is very affordable and works really well. I know how it is when you're first starting out. The supply lists are intimidating and then you see the price tags on some of the required items and you already feel defeated. What's worse is buying those expensive supplies then being afraid to mess them up because you're just a beginner. I don't want to ruin a $25 sheet of paper! The Stonehenge Aqua is really affordable and is a great paper for beginners and experienced painters.
- Tester paper- He has a tester paper to test out his yellow before applying to the painting. This is always handy and it's something I wish I would remember to have around. I often swipe my brush on the tape but it's not the same thing. I know I've heard some artists say they never use a tester paper, but back to the previous point, if you're afraid of messing up that expensive sheet of paper then by all means use some scrap tester paper. Once you get more advanced then maybe you won't need to test your paint first.
- Branches aren't thicker than the trunk- This one is about the trees, and this is any kind of tree, not just naked ones. It's something a lot of people do and I'm not sure why. They paint/draw in the trunk of the tree and work out from there and somehow the branches end up thicker and bigger than the trunk. This isn't how most trees grow. There's probably some exception to that rule but look around outside and see what the trees look like. All I can think is, thank God the branches are smaller than the trunks otherwise I'd need a new roof on my house every year.
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
|Winter at Oakland Mills 5x7 watercolour on paper (sold)|
|A few random "daily doodles"|
I encourage you all to do a challenge for the month of February. This might not seem like a useful tip but if you do it you'll probably realise it's one of the more useful tips out there.