Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Developing Good Taste...

Developing good taste, as it applies to painting, is a topic foremost on my mind lately.

I've discovered that while I love to paint, applying the paint to the canvas in hopes of liking the result, I sometimes shake in my boots that I might never improve or reach the level I aspire towards. I know this state is common with artists, and hardly a matter of life and death in the strictest sense, but it is so important to me personally, that I will spend days thinking about it.

I'll ask myself if I've set my sights too high, or am I just setting myself up for failure? The only thing that settles me down is knowing I am willing to improve and change what is getting in the way of creating more successful paintings.

I often read articles like this one, or this one, to see if I can nail it down. I look at lots and lots of  images, and can clearly feel what resonates, and what feels off the mark to help me identify where my 'personal taste' fits into the big picture. Through my eyes it goes beyond what is pretty, and includes a measure of how a visual image communicates to me.

Along this journey, my intellectual understanding of the painting process is way ahead of my skills so my own work frequently misses the mark I'm shooting for, but I get that I won't improve if I don't paint.

Also knowing that I've picked up a lot of useless information that gets in the way really frustrates me, but the good part is - I am recognizing that this is happening.

There will be times the painting is acceptable for my skill level, and I save those to refer back to later - using it as a measuring tool for progress or not.

This most recent image is one of those images. It is actually several days of study, one bloom per day, trying different things with brushes, textures, and paint mixtures. The grouping was an afterthought so the composition feels awkward to me. If it looks thrown together void of well thought out design, you are correct. The lighting is only the over head bulb in my studio, and I made up some of the little flowers. Looking at it now, I think it could also use a little more greenery.

I was reluctant to post it, but courage is also a requirement for this process! ;o)

Rose Grouping NFS

Monday, February 16, 2015

Thoughts on the Structure of Roses... and Artificial Props

This week, I'm interested in a series roses, single blooms in various stages and colors to brighten my easel, and continue to work on values. It is sunny and warm for February here  in the NW, and roses are not yet blooming. So I decided to invest into some study time on the structure of roses. Why you may ask?

Well, I will be using artificial props, and there is something usually 'off' about them. It turns out that most real roses have 5 petals in each whorl, so if you are using artificial/silk blooms to study painting, this may not be what you will see. There are rose species that have 4 petals, but not many, and the number of whorls seems to vary as well.

The green 'thingys' that sit at the base of the bloom are called sepals, and match the number of petals in one whorl, and can be seen surrounding the bud. The sepals protect the buds, and later support the blooms.

The stamens produces pollen (male), and the pistil topped by the stigma (female part) is where the pollen is deposited.

At the end of the season, you might see rose hips, the fruit, depending on species. The actual leaves grow in groups, and I left off the thorns too. ;o)

If you would like more detail, the wikipedia can expand on this information, but for purposes of the artist learning to paint this beautiful flower, this short explanation should suffice and point you in the right direction when using artificial props.

I am not going for a photographic look just because I know the basic parts of the rose, but I think it helps to have some understanding of a painting subject. Both paintings are done on linen sheets.

The first is full bloom and clearly a value study. No mystery there, but with this particular silk prop, the petals are distinctly rolled over a bit as if it is wilted.

I decided to use a bright synthetic brush, size 12, to give a sharper edge to some of the petals rolled edges.

Rose Blk/Wht Study
© 2015

The smaller bloom below did not have the correct number of petals of a live rose, but went for it anyway, and hoped to give it the illusion of a natural rose. Knowing it should have 5 actually was helpful. Used various brushes on this one.

MidBloom Red Rose
© 2015
I have now added some new words to my vocabulary, and I don't have to say 'thingy' anymore when talking about roses!

Thanks for reading and hope this helps if you also need to use artificial props.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Fractured Pear and White Berries

During the January 30/30 Challenge I attempted a process called fracturing and painted an image called Fractured Apple. I thought I'd try again because of experiencing an interesting sense of creativity that was loose and somewhat abstract while exploring the process.

So here is the second attempt to play with this process, and I experienced the same feeling in the process. The only changes were the pear and the berries.

Fractured Pear and White Berries
Oil on Linen Sheet 9 x 9
© 2015

After looking at this for a couple days now, I think I see this process as a metaphor for creativity because out of the chaos on the surface markings there is still an order to the image. It feels expressive and freeing to do something like this after so many years of more formal efforts.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Watts Holiday Relay Portrait Painting

I posted this activity from last year and glad to find it is a yearly activity/celebration!
All these portrait painters must be equally skilled at a very high level to pull this off so successfully! Enjoy!!

Watts Holiday Relay Portrait Painting

Time to get back to my easel...