Monday, March 22, 2010

Winter 2010

Last Class of Winter Semester

Picture Page:

Give me some time off and I loose all track of time!

I do want to thank everyone in all of my classes for making this past semester a fun one. A special thanks to my PV morning class for bringing all the goodies, wish we could do something like that at Torrance J

There really isn't much to talk about regarding our last session. For those of you who brought in paintings for critique, I can't tell you how proud I am of each and every one of you! You are all doing such a great job, I hope you keep up the good work during this time off.

I did a demo in all classes that was virtually the same for everyone: Watercolor and Acrylic. The technique is basically the same and it is a good one to know but you have to conquer your fear of doing something to you painting that seems more than a bit bold or drastic but there are times when that is exactly what your painting needs, something bold and drastic.

There are a couple of things I usually notice in the paintings of my students one is they are afraid of the shadows. Their paintings may be well drawn and well executed but they lack the punch to take a nice painting to the next level. Shadows create mystery they also make your light areas stand out. Remember, you can't have light without the dark. You have to have some dark darks so that you highlights will stand out; it is all in the values you put into your painting.

In all the demo pictures I did in class, I noticed that the one thing that was lacking were definite shadows in the rocks. I had gotten my dark areas pretty good, but the shadow rocks were a little weak so on all of my demos I used a wash that consisted mostly of blue and purple and went over the shadowed sides of the rocks. This should be a fairly thin wash whether it is in acrylics or watercolor, if it needs more after it dries, add another wash. What this wash does is really cool down the shadows and if you want to emphasize the warm and the cool even more, do a similar thing with a warm wash of yellow and or orange (I did this in most classes but not all). Just remember to keep it think and if you are using watercolor, put it on and move on! If you linger too long in one area, you will stir up the paint underneath and you will create mud. Rinse your brush before reloading and use a damp brush to soften edges but don't go back into an area until it is completely dry, the acrylic people won't have that problem but you should let it dry before doing anything else to the area.

The other problem I often see is people give up on a painting way too soon. Almost without exception, most paintings have a stage I call the Terminal Uglies. It is the stage when you look at your painting and you want to throw it in the trash when often times you have just gotten to the end of your under painting and now you need to start the finishing process.

The above technique can help out a lot because what I see when people are frustrated is there is no depth in their paintings, everything is the same value and there is no sense of light. You are the Creator of this world on your paper, you have to make some decisions like where is the light coming from? What is the most important thing in my painting? And how can I bring it out? Try squinting your eyes. If the values are too close, all you will see is a mass of color with no detail because the values are too close. You should be seeing light, middle and dark areas even when you squint, if you don't, you need to work on it.

Using the above wash technique will help push back areas you want to be in a more supportive role and to give depth. If you already don't like your painting, what do you have to loose by being bold with this wash? Yes, it is scary at first but once you try it and see what it does to your painting, you will find many uses for these kinds of washes.

Now you need to look for your darkest darks and shadows where things overlap or hang over other objects in your painting. If you are doing flowers or trees be sure to be some dark shadows on the dark sides of steams and branches. Look for areas where you can highlight. If you are using watercolor and an area won't lift because of the paint or the paper has been damaged from being over worked, paint the areas around it darker or intensify the local color. What you are looking for is a change in value, intensifying a color can work as well as a shadow sometimes better.

Just don't give up until you have exhausted all possibilities. If possible ask a friend to give you an honest assessment of your painting, or turn it upside down or view it in a mirror – tricks or the trade as it were – and most importantly of all, stand back from your painting at least 6 – 10' and let it sit for a few days so you can see it with fresh eyes. Don't get frustrated, it isn't the end of the world and you can always try again.

Please remember to sign up ASAP for classes if you haven't already. Torrance students remember that the Powers That Be will close classes the Wednesday before classes actually start if they are under enrolled or we may have to cut the class time back if we are short a body or two, bring a friend. PVAC students you can sign up on the day of class but I know that many students have already signed up for the next classes so don't wait too long and end up on the waiting list I want to see everyone back in class. Thank you and I hope to see everyone in the new semester. - LP

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