Sunrise Sunset And Waves

When the sun is low its rays pass across the curved surface of the earth and encounter the thickest film of atmosphere than at any other point during the day . The shorter light rays (the blue end of the spectrum) are almost entirely deflected by the heavier particles in the atmosphere whereas the reds and oranges (the longer wave lengths) are the ones that will reach the observer. Under certain conditions, like after a rainstorm, the sunsets can be bluer whereas after a fire they often become...

The Alexander Painting No

Things I don't like 1. The tallest building looks phallic while the other one needs a more oriental cast (well we are a hundred miles west of Ankara). It also seems too high. 2. I need more perspective in the sky, more aerial direction, more light direction. I'll try and fix those The problem of linking the sky to the ground now arises. Perhaps I am trying too hard to complete the inside square of the composition Does it need to be completed at all or is the dark...

Stanley meeting Livingstone Plato

OK, so you can now see the possibilities should you want to research the subject matter, and have the technical skills to produce a painting that has both feeling, drama and definition. In my atelier my primary duty is usually to give students the skill so they can paint whatever style or method that might suit the period - or otherwise, should they determine something else is required. That is up to them and their reasoning. In this sort of work it is important for future copyright use that...

The Golden Mean or Golden Section

The 'Golden Mean' is merely a mathematical ratio usually discerned by the painter as the ratio of the larger side of a rectangle as it relates to the shorter. Derived by the ancient Greeks it can be constructed geometrically or expressed as a simple ratio, namely 1 1618 Like pi, the number 1.618 is an irrational number. Both the ancient Greeks and the ancient Egyptians used the Golden Mean when designing their buildings and monuments. The builders of Paestum used the Golden Mean in their...

A cautionary tale for the discerning student about two Dutch artists and what was fashion

Two brilliant dutch artists born 300 years apart - one whose work was appreciated and the other shunned, one who lived in luxury and the courts of kings while the other lived in poverty, one whose art provided happiness and security while the others' sent him mad. Who would say one was a better artist Here I have combined two famous portraits to make the one. I wonder, had they changed places, how then would they have painted DRAWING WITH PAINT AND THE INSIDE OUT AND OUTSIDE IN TECHNIQUES

Some D Spaces Continued

Extend a few lines and the blue line now becomes the 'horizon line'. add a few visual clues try it a railway line, telegraph posts and suggestions of clouds. Please refer to 'drawing' section lesson 5 called 'raliway' for the practical lesson that accompanies this theory sheet. Let us look at the structure again and draw a cube and indicate a light source and plot a shadow (it gets complicated very quickly doesn't it To plot the shadow drop a vertical line from the light source. From where it...

Subject Driving me hairy

Was writing the other day about women's hair. This one (attached) is giving me problems trying to make realistic thanks. My reply You are not having trouble with hair, you are just overdoing its rendering. In a painting hair is not drawn, it is colored First decide the general color (try and add a repeat of some deep facial coloring) then block it in as if it were just another part of the face. Add a few individual hairs (not too many) as they fall across the forehead, or as the light...

Modern Frames Accents And Echoes

When the print or painting itself is intended as a decorative item - fashion often dictates the frame. It is perilous in this instance to buy a finished item without checking its intended placement. All sorts of factors such as lighting, wall color, furniture etc. can have their unforseen effects. In this section I shall concentrate on those principles of framing that confine themselves to the picture and the frame. The principles of modern framing are the same as principles of the past but...

Page Of Theory Before The Practice

Painting a portrait is quite a personal thing. It demands that the artist make some sort of estimation or judgement. The painting opposite a 'detail' from my portrait of John Morgan. After deciding on the client (if not the sitter), why the work is commissioned and what scope is the artist allowed - you then ask yourself 1. What is the essential character of the sitter 2. How does the sitter view his or her own presence in the world 3. Is there a pose that seems natural and expressive of the...

Painting Decorative paintings

When everything else fails So how do you do formula paintings, and what are the formulas that always sell In the business we call these 'potboilers' and the problem is not in painting them it is disguising them sufficiently so they seem fresh and new, one off originals instead of formula paintings. There are of course certain things that have universal appeal and I will show you two variations of them in this lesson. Understand however, this universality needs to be tweaked and adapted...

Drawing Proportion And Observation

Observation and genesis of the line and of freehand drawing Long before an infant understands that milk finds its own level he or she learns to up-end the bottle to feed. When, a little later, the child is asked to draw the level of a liquid in a tilted glass the result is often By observation or logic the instant a child realizes liquid finds its own level he or she has learnt a principle that will help it to survive and to understand the world. My point here is that descriptive drawing is...

And Using Chaos

Let us imagine our life as a room and the room has a partition. On one side of the partition is a continually moving, changing world of disorder and chaos. It is populated by all the creatures of the imagination - and more than a few not invited. It is a world of the surreal, of dreams and nightmares, of anti-logic and senselessness. On the other side of our partition we have order, logic and regular forms. The world of the pyramids, spheres and cubes - the world of habit, pattern and order....

Inside out

When painting a head and shoulders portrait I usually establish the rough proportions of the sitter by way of freehand line. I plan the future positions of the areas of maximum contrast and interest. Next I paint the eyes mouth and nose. In other words I work from inside the overal shapes. As I reach the boundaries I find they often suggest themselves. Some I might like to edge or define while others I let fade away. In general it is appropiate to paint inside out if the figure inhabits more...

Practical considerations

Physical likeness - for me this is probably the most enjoyable - if you follow some simple rules and ask yourself and others the questions the cartoonist asks himself every day. Silently ask yourself (in the presence of the sitter) what are the most distinguishing characteristics. Then ask yourself the same question later in with the sitter absent. Try and remember some aspect of the person like thick eyebrows, wavy hair, big ears etc Also try and remember a mannerism like, a pose, smile or use...

Reconstructing Historical Landscapes

There is a growing opportunity for painters to make a living by painting historical landscapes using old postcards or photographs as reference material. I recently experimented with this by taking three old faded, black and white postcards and reconstructing the landscape. They were subsequently scanned and printed and sold in the area they were painted. This could be done in any location should you possess the skill of an adequate landscape painter and a modicum of flair for color and drama....

Depth Of Field

The human eye, like the camera, has a limited depth of field. In other words we focus on one level and the objects in front or behind are often blurred. When Deigo Velazquez painted Las Meninas he, along with many artists (pre-photography), painted everything in focus. This was part of the magic of painting as the viewers perception was thereby expanded - rather like a hologram. Today wide angle lens may produce something similar but unless you intend to spend hours in a darkroom it is an all...

Frames And Other Decorations

It is useful to understand the evolution of the picture frame. Frames evolved from painted decorations of architraves and cornices that surrounded frescoes on walls and ceilings (as in the Sistine Chapel below), to actual plaster and timber mouldings used when oil paintings became transportable. Today frames have become 'stand alone' items of mass production. From the early renaissance architectural fashion has often determined the design of frames. Popular architrave, cornice and skirting...

Wrote this lesson in response to a number of letters to quote but one

'Some people have difficulty mixing what are called skin colours. I have seen portraits where no flesh tones were used at all (somewhat like the dutch painter example in your lesson). How do you actually decide what values and hues you will use for a certain person's skin tones Do you think cool and warm colours Do you decide the hue based on the shadowed colours or the colours in the light, or perhaps you use some other method ' My Reply The meat of a cooked crab is a delicacy but the...

Likely To Scumble

As the judge remarked about my life. 'Its like paint parts are opaque, parts transparent, and parts somewhere in between, according to how much light is able to pass through the tiny particles of your credibility.' But he was right about the paint. It can be opaque, transparent, and somewhere in between, according to how much light is able to pass throught the tiny particles of pigment. Transparent pigments are like tiny colored crystals, whereas opaque pigments are like little colored or white...

Front Pictorial And Ambiguous Light

Painting Pictorial

Front Light - the favorite of photographers, two dimensional artists, children and colorists where emphasis is on color and texture over form and value. Front light can eliminate the need for shading and shadows which is a pity for they are a great joy and keep many artists from wandering aimlessly about the streets in the dead of night . Front light is also excellent for use in portraits of unremarkable people. Holbein's front light portrait of a Dutch princess eventually caused the schism...

Cascading Light And Shade

Light Shade Drawing Lamp

CHIAROSCURO - creating depth with light against dark and dark against light. By forming a sky of scattered clouds a marvellous opportunity presents itself on the ground. The artist can use light to highlight certain areas he and darken others. The artist becomes like the person controlling the lights on a stage production. In the example below I use the bands of light to draw and direct the eye and all is done by utilising the dramatic effects of light against dark and dark against light. Note...