Sunday, February 10, 2013

Picture Page Link -

Project: Clay Pots and Chilies Torrance Edition.

We started the Torrance project a bit different than I started the PV version but the principles are still the same: Light against dark, dark against light. Keep that in mind when you are painting, it will guide you when you are stumped.

This week I decided that before I went any further I needed to put in my background so I could get a better idea of where I was going with this painting. I knew that I wanted it dark so the pots will look like they are in a sun beam and that I wanted to do a similar thing to what I was doing in the the acrylic painting which meant using my blues, purple, greens with the occasional sienna, red or orange thrown in for good measure, keeping it very dark in the corners and behind the short pot but getting just a bit lighter where the bowl touches the tall vase and up the neck of the tall vase gradually getting darker around the mouth of the vase so the colors turn into the dark values moving away from the vase.
Under painting is done  now to add color and shadows.

My strokes were very choppy, putting one color down then picking up another and loosly blending into the first color. If I needed a ligter color I added water or to get a softer blend betwen colors I used water, you might want to practice on another test paper before going to your painting so you know what you are doing first. I may repeat this process again if I think I want it darker after it dries but will leave it for now.

Next I worked on the string of chilies. Remember we work from light to dark so we need to leave some of the color we did before as part of the light area and the highlights in some of the dark areas. The one thing I want you to keep in mind is that all those chilies are just shapes, unless you want to do photo realism just making a bunch of random shapes will turn out better than a lot of nitpicking at this point in time, you can do some detail work later but for now it is just color and shape.
I just painted shapes.

The chilies go in all directions, individual chilies may go in all directions, so be careful of the purely human thing to do which is to make all the same size, same shape and same direction. Make sure the outside edge(s) of the chilies aren't lined up like toy soldiers and be sure to overlap.

On the side with the light I used cad red (if you have it) or you can use a touch of yellow or orange with the napthol red think sunlight and warm, in the shadowed side of the chilies I used alizarin crimson, sometimes with a touch of purple or blue when I wanted it darker and while the paint was still wet, I dropped in some of my napthol red in places. Then I let it dry.

At this point my basic painting is established, from here I will be deepening the colors and the values in my painting and adding detail where I see fit, it is a process that takes time and each step is important, so be patient with you painting and with yourself.

My PV class had a spot demo on a couple of things one was how to use wet into wet to create a sense of depth (the cover of Watercolor magazine had a painting that had use the method) the second was to show that you can make your subject important by using color rather than size.

In the first example of wet into wet, I first wet my paper with water and painted in my sky color when I got to where the shapes of the buildings would be, I switched to a different color (the magazine image was on the green/gold side) and while my paper was still wet, I used my brush to sketch in the silhouettes of the buildings up into the sky, then I let the paper dry a bit but it was still damp when I painted within the soft, fuzzy shapes, more solid building shapes that were more substantial visually, one, because of the extra value added when the new layer was put on, plus, the more distinct edge given because of the dryer paper. It still had a distant look to it but there was a bit of a glow around the buildings.
Create distance with wet into wet, draw focus with warm colors.

The second demo, using the buildings I just made as a back ground, I placed a small figure in the front left of the buildings. While it was just a shape - one artist use to call them carrots - because I used a warm color,  red and orange, even though it is tiny compared to the buildings behind it, your eye can't help but look at it. To better show how warm colors grab the viewer's attention on the opposite side I painted a figure of similar size and on the same plane as the red figure but I used cool colors, blue and green, instead of warm ones, your eye still goes to the one in red. I also added more generic human shapes to the background using the grey green of the buildings to create a street scene and a line behind my red guy and no matter what I did, as long as I used the cool colors my little red guy was still what the eye was attracted to.

Knowing how most people react to color can give the artist a leg up when planning a painting so we can draw the viewer's eye into our paintings and keep them there using size, color, hard lines and other tricks of the trade or perhaps tools in our creative box, we just need to learn how to use them.

Torrance we will be working on our paintings for another couple of weeks but start looking for something you want to paint and I will see you all in class.

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