Friday, April 16, 2010

Week 1 Spring 2010

Watercolor Class Spring 2010

(Underlined highlighted words are links to the picture page)

The first day of class is always hard to plan for with the new people coming in, I never know how long it will take to go over equipment so I thought a quick demo on something I haven't done in a while would be a good one. Adding figures into your landscapes or cityscapes can add a lot of interest into your painting because as humans, it helps us relate better to the rest of the painting seeing some signs of life rather than a barren landscape or empty streets. Even a lone figure can add a sense of scope to your painting.

What happens though is when you are new to painting adding "people" is frightening. Your brain goes through all sorts of worst case scenarios: "I don't know how to paint people!" "It's too hard to paint people!" well, I think you've all heard the internal arguments about adding a person or even an animal to your painting so you don't.

The thing is, most of the time you can get away with just some very simple shapes that will translate in the brain as "people" or "animals". Remember, as painters, we are illusionists we can make the viewer see what we want them to see and it will seem believable. Whether it is a lone figure or a crowded street, all you are dealing with are basic shapes, as Frank Clarke would call them – carrots.

A lone person in the distance is just roughly the shape of a carrot or long "V" shape with a dash on the top for a head NOT a dot. Heads are more believable if they are vertical rectangle or oval shapes than if you make a round shape for a head. A crowd of people is just a mass of shapes and/or color with a few lines below to suggest legs and rectangles of all sizes and shapes to indicate heads. That's it. No blood, sweat or tears involved, just simple shapes and you are done.

The one thing you do need to keep in mind is proportion of your figures in relationship to what they are standing by. For instance, if you have the figure of a man standing next to a tree that is suppose to be 30 feet tall, you need to keep in mind the size of the figure in proportion to the tree. If the base of the tree and the feet of the man are on the same plane (if you draw a horizontal line from one to the other and they both touch the same line, they are on the same plane) and you create a figure that is half as tall as the tree it is standing next to, figuring a 6' man the tree will only look like a 12' tree. It is an optical illusion but it is one that can create problems for the artist. To correct that illusion you can do one of two things: either make the base of the tree shorter – that changes the plane the tree's base is sitting on or you can make the legs of the person longer moving it down onto another plane. Don't take my word for it; practice this on a scrap piece of paper to see for your self.

The figures don't need to be static either. I was asked in one of my classes can you do dancers that way, the answer is "Yes". Dancers, runners, bicyclists, anything that you want to put in you can do with simple shapes (see picture page). You do need to look at a photo or another painting and get an idea of what you want or where you need to go, but you can add these things to your paintings with just a little effort and planning.

Animals are the same way. Animals in the distance are just rectangles with a few lines for legs a thicker line for the neck and a "V" shape for the head. Sheep are just little oblong balls with "V"s for heads and lines for legs. Very, very simple. DO NOT OVER THINK THESE FIGURES! They are just simple shapes, nothing more.

I had a couple of requests for how to paint white, so next Monday I will be doing a demo on painting white houses and snow.

1 comment:

上宜俊宇芳心 said...