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...

Painting Little Waves

Remember the first lesson on the importance of really looking at things and studying them Well this lesson is a reminder of that and will also give you an understanding of how a painter must analyze the smallest things so as to best understand how to paint them in the biggest way. Nothing is more important than understanding this. You might think the figures I put into the following painting are the key. Not so, it is the study of the wave that makes this painting unique. Have you ever wondered...

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...

Texture And Pattern

Texture texture is one of the three main elements of a picture - the others being design and shape. Of course their are many subdivisions that include color, light and shade etc. 1. The 'feathery' red hat is an example of Vermeer suggesting texture by means of 'working the edge'. This is probably the simplest method of creating a texture impression. 2. The polished ebony lions head is deliberately unfocused to bring it forward. Solid dots within a milky halo are the method used here to suggest...

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

Illustrating Fables and Legends

Painters have been doing this for ever - from cave painters to artists at the end of the 20th Century. Sadly there is little of it today but this gives the versatile and patient painter an excellent chance to fill the gap To understand the importance of such paintings as Gerome's 'Police Verso', shown above, one only needs to understand that the whole visual feel and detail of the very successful 'Gladiators' movie was, according to the director Ridley Scott, based entirely around such 1890's...

A mailbox

Look around, walk in the park, go to the seaside, there are thousands of suitable items. Below are a few examples of mine I have found that made successful and saleable paintings. Pasta (36x24) Beans and toast (36x24) 'Landscape'(100x50) - I intend to follow up this 'world landscape' with another having the map reversed as if looking from inside out out into the universe. The shapes thus should be vaguely familiar but the 'views' unusual. MAKING ORDINARY THINGS EXTRAORDINARY RECONSTRUCTING...

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...

Fig Fig

Fine Art - I want to paint to understand and enjoy visual ideas. Here I will quote a respected food and wine judge, 'In summary less is more. The flavours and fragrances we most enjoy are the ones we only just perceive. More than that, they make us sick. Rose scent is a good example.' Fig 4 One of the greatest paintings of all time - sublimely subtle. The viewer knows exactly how the artist felt towards the subject. (note the lips slightly apart - a rarity in northern renaissance portraiture)...

Opposites

I often call these 'opposite' colors as they lodge exactly opposite each other on the color wheel (green and red or yellow and purple). When mixed together they produce a grey. When placed side by side, in spots or short brush strokes, they give an impressionistic effect of grey at a distance and of vibrating color up close. A juxtaposition of large even areas of 'opposite' colors is most uncomfortable to the eye. This fetish has gained some popularity with...

A Reverse Sunset Night and CLOUDS

The sky of the reverse sunset or sunrise approximates the midday sky, but with less veils of atmosphere. The predominant light from the setting sun often gives the blue (cerulean) a slightly warmer yellowish feel on the horizon. The red-yellow light rays come from behind the viewer and strike clouds and solid objects bathing them in a warm orange glow that contrasts nicely against the cooler blue. The effect can be strikingly subtle. In this example the polished floor reflects the blue of the...

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...

Drawing The Many Uses Of A Line

Fig.1 Here is a fine example of using rounded female forms to make a youthful face. Full cheeks and rouge lips Fig. 2 Great delicacy is displayed in the grip and in the form of these young fingers. Fig. 3The powerful masculine shoulder and arm are defined by the flattened ovals of muscle. If we combine all these we should get an ambiguous picture, neither male or female, youthful or mature but with elements of them all. Fig.1 Here is a fine example of using rounded female forms to make a...

Night

Without moonlight or clouds the night sky is theoretically black but a hint of star light gives us a blue violet feel. The moon behaves exactly as a small sun with the earths atmosphere giving the moon at moon rise its distinctive yellow glow. As it ascends the moon becomes piercingly white. As with the sun it seems best to show its effect by way of clouds and reflections rather than a direct representation. Note the violet shadows on the distant buildings.

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...

Fig

Decoration - I want to paint because I love to decorate. Fig l.(above) Here color and proportion are made pleasing to the senses. Fig 2 Impressionist decoration. Fig 3 The use of an accent (bright red in a sea of grey) for an eye catching wall decoration I would have you paint decoration for the appreciation of decoration, paint subtlety for the appreciation of subtlety and paint messages for those looking to pictures for meaning. Why deny people their decoration, why deny the high church their...

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....

Transposing Lines To Landscape

Vincent VanGough was a master at transposing line to landscape, and there is no ambivalance his line. He used clear purposeful lines in all his landscapes - even in areas without lines, like the sky. He often used line also as a pattern, and without form. Some of his pictures use the aged line and others the youthful. You can judge by the landscapes below. First look at the youthful lines in the 'Wheat Field and Cypress Pines' then look at the aged olive trees. He also loved to paint old,...

The Alexander Painting

Unhand me good reason and pour me another scotch quickly I stand before a blank canvas, brush loaded color mixed and mind blank. What to paint Can't think of a thing. Suddenly a lateral thought (just a little water - don't fill it up and no ice. Thank you ) . Why not a painting on lateral thought Who had the first lateral thought Adam Never No Alexander the Great maybe with the cutting of the Gordian knot Has that been painted No you say Well lets go. Get me the book on Alexander. Mmm 'The...

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...

Info

Create an oval and smear with shades of red allowing a transparency around the edges. You could do this with a semi-transparent crimson red like alizarin. The rest is pure fiction and applied logic a) Light source (top left) determines the position of the shadow as well as the position of the reflected light on the stone. b) The highlight on the stone tell us the much. As it is sharply focused we know the stone is smooth and shiny (very reflective). Here it is a window - reflected twice (the...

It is not major problem however

Let us separate the hair and apply a screen tint of a warm dark. Say value 2 at 50 for the more mechanically minded. With paint I would simply use a alizarin - raw umber glaze. Note how the texture is not lost. Saves work later. Next is the favourite part - soften the edges and lose some of the texture. Explanation the human mind does not like to be overloaded with too much detail, particularly in painting. It revels in its ability to complete the picture without help, and it must be allowed...

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...

The Portrait William Shakespeare

This is the account of the production of a portrait of William Shakespeare using an anatomical drawing of his skull, the Chandos portrait and Droeshout etching, and thereby forensically constructing a portrait of the man himself. 'Good friend for Jesus sake forbear To dig the dust enclosed here. Blessed be the man that spares these stones and cursed be he that moves my bones.' First of all we shall look at what other background material exists. of Shakespeare. From a copy of the First Folio....

Picture Frames

The classic tradition of museum display is that of the Uffizi - deep gold frames on a salmon red background wall. This is a formula often repeated for many renaissance paintings. It is also one I sometimes use in internet gallerys -but mostly without the frames. For landscape paintings of high contrast and dark greens the salmon red works well particularly if separated by a neutral (off-white, black) or transit (gold) color. This is a handy hint for painting as well as framing. When dealing...

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...

Sidelight Toplight And Reflected Light

We know solid objects will block out light so why aren't their shadows black We know that every surface that absorbs one hue reflects the hues it does not absorb. The reflected hue is its 'named hue'. White surfaces then reflect the whole spectrum. We live in situations surrounded by many reflective surfaces. They can be red, blue or yellow, polished, shiny or not and light rays will continue to bounce around until like they find the appropiate surface to snap them up. Until they do however...

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

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...