Saturday, June 12, 2010

Still Life Reviewed

This blog is a followup from my last one where I presented the actual still life, the black and white or notan, value study and now discussing the painting in color. It is imperative to maintain the value structure in this painting because some of these colors are so difficult to get. Trying to obtain the right color mixtures and at the same time as the right value is almost impossible. The student (all of us) must keep the painting in the correct value or all is doomed. What is the shadow color on the main yellow flower to the right middle? Some green, some red, some raw sienna, little yellow, etc, I can't describe all the colors I used--at times I experiment over and over again. The other forms were easier. The background in cool greyed color so they don't compete with the subject matter. The detail in these roses were the most beautiful things I could imagine.
Other notes in still life: Have one flower be the star--if they are all detailed and pretty, you will lose punch. If everyone is screaming in the chorus, who will hear the soprano? Note the lower flower on the table cloth-I angled down so it becomes a lead in. It was straight across the table. Alway look for a way into the painting, and a way out, although keep it subordinate to the lead in. If possible, have two or three flowers touching or off the edge (not in this one) for interest and mystery. Lose edges where ever possible. Let your big masses communicate with each other and make sure there is harmony-especially a balance of warms and cool (there is in this one). More on that in another blog.
Mother nature amazes and humbles me constantly. I hope this helps your understanding of still lifes and take a workshop!! We review these principles and others on fridays.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Seduction of Color

This blog is about values-lights and darks and how they affect the structure of a painting. To get depth, contrasts, thus excitement in a painting in working with color, beginning artists get tricked into the beautiful colors. I teach them to stay in the value structure- lights and darks of a painting, starting with darks then moving into lights. With such beautiful color as above, taken during my class last week, it is very easy to become seduced by such rich variety of color, as in the picture above left. The mature artist knows they must first grasp the values or notan ( a Japonese term meaning light and dark harmony) structure as my friend Barry from Virtual Art Academy would say. This notan understands the darks and lights and how they interweave to form an interesting pattern (or not as the subject would display). On the black and white photo on the right, notice the light coming down from middle, then lightly touching the rose in the middle. Nice shadow in front of the vase. Now if this pattern isn't pleasing, adjust the notan, perhaps by darking the rose, the background, or vase, etc. The rich, beautiful color afforded in the still life is a no brainer--beautiful rich variety but the studious artist must hold back, do a value study or take a black and white photo.
Note a new workshop is at Folsom Art Association in 'October 14-16, 2010. Sign up now. One last note is interplay between warm and cools. Does this have a good balance? I think it does, although I might purposefully grey down some of the warm temperature in the background, maybe add a light blue or grey blue to tie into the Vase in the middle. More on warms and cools later. Just saw the impressionists museum last thursday in SF at the De Young museuem--fantastic show, try and see it.