Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Busy time of the year!

With three plein air events under my belt, this summer is just beginning. Augusta plein air, Stems plein air, and Steelville plein air. I have been very fortunate to place in each event, and sales have covered my expenses. I fondly refer to these events as art camp! There is such a wealth of knowledge when you work around all of these wonderful plein air painters.

I have been following a blog of an artist that I have found to be full of juicy information. He has given permission to re- post his blog information. So here is one that I found very informative.

5 Topics Painters Struggle With

carmel, seventeen mile drive California
I see many painters putting in or picking subjects that are way too complex for their skill level.  This seems to be very common.  “But it looks so cool on the photo” this comment spells disaster almost every time when you see the painting. Even I would not paint what I see in some source photos. Our knowledge grows with time and painting consistently improves our work. Therefore we must know the level we are at and not push it too far. We tend to overestimate our knowledge and this shows up clearly when viewing the final painting.

Look for big shapes and good patterns of both light and dark. If you paint the landscape look at your source photos that have 3 to 4 large shapes in them ( sky, background, middle ground and foreground). If you do not see this pattern somewhere just skip over the photo.

I know this one is not easy, but we must be patient with our fine art journey.  Its growth is slow. Today we live in such a fast-paced environment; we are attuned to wanting it all, NOW. Remember to become an artist, the path is not a sprint, but a marathon.
Work on several pieces at once. This way you can keep rotating them, stay fresh, and eventually upon revisiting these works in progress you will find yourself correcting things you may have missed beforehand. Paint smaller pieces, from an 8x10 to 12x16 for a while. You will learn more about the process and solve problems more frequently than you would if you were always working on one large piece. Always working larger and making mistakes brings on frustration and not to mention the loss of materials and paint you will scrap if the larger piece is not salvageable.  We all know how this feels. Remember it is all about the quality not the size of the artwork.

I have taught many workshops and from time to time while walking around and helping students at their easels I would find that their panels or canvases are not suitable for their paints. The paint would just slide around on it or would not adhere well.  This can be very frustrating for any medium.

Buy canvases or adhere canvases to panels at the very least with a medium weave. Not too rough, but not smooth either. Oil primed canvases are great for experienced painters but can be a struggle for others. Acrylic Gessoed boards can be too slick as well. Canvas is my preference of choice for oil paints.   I like to use single-primed Claessens® #66 linen which has an even medium texture, tight weave and excellent strength.  Sorry, I have tailored this suggestion to my landscape painting readers. I would be glad to give suggestions for other mediums just reach out to me in the comment section.

Please do not carry the kitchen sink :) Painting is not complicated, so do not complicate your supplies either. In the long run an investment in compact equipment and supplies will save your back as well as your wallet.
Try to bring no more than 10 brushes. Buy small 37ml size tubes of paint. Use a small thinner container your only outside for 2 to 4 hours max and always not far from your car to refill. Invest in a light tripod with carbon fiber legs) and a light ball head. Click here for more info. Weigh your backpack; it should be less than 20 lbs. If it is over twenty pounds then edit your pack down again. Minimizing is the key for a joyful outdoor painting experience.  Think “grab and go” when the moment strikes.

Too many colors on your palette can be confusing. You will tend to use those colors incorrectly if you don’t understand value before color.  Some painters use a wide variety of colors correctly, but remember they have also been painting full-time as a career for nearly 30 to 50 years. This knowledge and experience allows variety.
Keep your colors to a minimum. Learn how to use them well, before adding new ones to your mix.
Here are the colors I use: 
Titanium  white
Ultramarine Blue
Cerulean Blue
Raw Sienna
Yellow Ochre
Cad Lemon Yellow
Alizarin Crimson
Cad Red Medium
Burnt Sienna

Colors to use  if you are having problems with values. This is a wonderful palette that will allow you to mix some color but will hold you back just enough to concentrate more on values. I do this in my classes all the time. 
Ivory Black ( this will be your blue )
Burnt Sienna ( this will be your red )
Yellow Ochre ( this will be your yellow )
Titanium White 

1 comment:

  1. Excellent tips. I am so glad you are having so much fun painting this summer. Love all of your paintings. The horses were so beautiful. You are so talented.


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