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...

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...

Virgil Elliotts painting below demonstrates his mastery of the silk satin technique

Diaphanous - Remember Virgil Elliott said 'The key is to understand that light on diaphanous cloth renders it more opaque, and thereby obscures more of what is underneath, while in shadows it is more transparent, allowing more of what is under it or behind it to show through. The diaphanous textures can also be done this way as well, by painting the cloth and what shows through it at the same time. Virgil's method - 'To simplify the painting of diaphanous cloth, let's ignore the refining...

Progress Of The Nude No

Artists are forever in danger of outsmarting themselves. Doing something they think is clever and forgetting the original elements or concept. I have been guilty of this with this painting. I will leave the body alone for a while and see what suggests itself in the detail remembering that a lot of details I intend destroying for effect later. First some foreground detail on the sofa, some pattern and repetition The nude is almost OK. Now for some radical changes and see their effect. The...

The painting of fur linen cotton velvet silk satin gauzes and other diaphanous materials

Drawing the edges and the folds the thickness and pliability (softness) of the cloth determines the size and shape of the folds. Fur and thick wool that is soft yet pliant requires little drawing as it is mainly composed of large gentle contours. It usually dominates the form it conceals. Thick heavy linen or damask that resists folding will show straight edges and will stress at the folds with double or even triple indents (see in the acute angles left). It also will override the shape it...

Painting For Money

OK, now you have learnt your craft and you want to paint paintings that sell. This may help you buy your round of drinks at the local tavern and perhaps, at last, put a roof over the heads of your nearest and dearest. You might even have dreams of becoming a responsible member of the community, regain the respect of those inlaws who have long since given up on you. So how do you do formula paintings and what are the formulas that always sell In the business we call these 'potboilers' and 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...

Painting Red Roses

This lesson is a continuation of the drawing lesson on roses that you should view before attempting your own painting. I have done the painting in four stages and will attempt describe each stage as they are shown below. The student should try and complete this painting in one session as it is essentially a 'wet in wet' project that relies on the fluidity of the paint. First of all I covered a primed canvas (16 x 13) in a 'thin' mix of raw umber. Technically this is usually referred to as a...

Basic Oil Painting Cont

This lesson is a summation of the practical demonstration I sometimes give to further explain some of the points made in the previous lesson. My purpose is to use common household materials to make an oil painting while my method of teaching this is similar to those cooking shows you see on TV. My desire is to familiarize the students with what 'might' have happened during the 'invention' of oil painting back in the sixteenth century and thus remove some of the hesitation from trying the method...

Painting Little Waves No

In the detail of the wave shown opposite you may be convinced you are looking through the wave but this is mere illusion. My steps in painting were as follows 1) Paint the whole canvas a thinned mix of dirty sand colored raw sienna mixed with a little raw umber and white. Adjust for a approx value 5 or 6. Let dry to the toutch. 2) With a nice runny flake or lead white with a little ultramarine and cobalt blue and using flowing figure eight horizontal hand movements create the wave tops. 3) Add...

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

V

Now we need to make the night sky glow with the most vivid and warm blue we can manage, and in the darker areas as deep and remote as possible. This is the secret of getting this painting to work as the land masses will then be able to provide the absolute contrast in both color and painting method (scumbling). To do this I glaze the sea three times in 4 days, see above, with a glaze mix of phthalo (a warm transparent blue) and a glaze medium and in the darker areas of the sea add some...

Craft stone a Daniel Smith sable and an old worn out D Smith as a blender

I start on the white drapery, but soon switch to the center of interest, the female back. I put some paint on the turban and pretty soon I'm warmed up. I stop thinking, and begin to paint by instinct. I use a limited palette of colors. I work carefully and patiently and am proud of it, since by nature I'm neither careful or patient. To show rebellion against my mid-20th century art training, I use the old sable as a blender. Remember kiddies, using a blender is bad I'm increasingly turning to...

Cities In The Sky Painting Clouds

You can do this simple little exercise on a sheet of paper with some colored pencils. Later people will wonder why you keep looking up at the sky and most likely assume you are either idealistic or a deep thinker (both these roles being totally foreign to most painters). Using simple perspective construct some blocks ( lighter lines than above). The light source will be front, top and left. Then we do some simple shading And a mid-tone and a cast shadow. When painting use colors from your...

So What Exactly Is Color

All colors can be defined using three simple indexes hue, saturation and value. 1. Their color name as in red, blue, green or yellow. This is called their ' hue '. Here are some examples of hues Most people just know them as red, yellow or blue. Do not be confused by trade names such as 'Rocking chair red' or 'Hooker's canary yellow.' Try and remember the names of the common artists colors like those above but try and keep it simple. In the art supply shop ask for a color chart. 2. A colors...

Then your artistic slump will vanish just in time for your real torment to begin

Now it becomes what, how, which combination, what is the essence of the feeling and how do I paint (describe) it, how do I start I had a folder here with great color schemes somewhere now which one was that How can I encapsulate the feeling, yet be subtle and convincing What forms lines textures patterns color can I apply But, just think when it is all over - and if it all works out brilliantly, you can wildly celebrate, wake up hungover and start all over again. Now where did I put that red...

Page Of Theory Before The Practice

Transcend Yourself Drawing

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...

The Alexander Painting No

I have done most of the essential housekeeping jobs. Overall things look a little dark but at the moment and that is a plus for me since the drama and ease of creating things from a dark background is much easier and enjoyable than working from too much light backwards. I like the juxtaposition of tiger and sheep (above). The alert tiger gives the painting an element of the exotic and the dangerous that goes well with Alexander (the dark prince). The sheep and shepherd are also a reminder of...

What Makes A Masterpiece

A painting masterpiece is 'a portal or magic window that will draw the imagination.' How is this done and why are we humans drawn to certain paintings like Icarus was to the sun, or flies to Why, because the painter desires the viewer to enter into the painting, and once there, to make them want to dwell awhile. And how do they do this By imagination and the use of all the means, tricks, skill, subterfuge, and techniques at their disposal. The techniques include texture, design, color,...

Selective Focus

There is a third principle to be observed when creating the illusion of reality, which is closely aligned with atmospheric perspective. This is the Principle of Selective Focus. It is the phenomenon whereby our eyes, directed by the brain, register the highest attention to detail on whatever we consider most important within our cone of vision. Please note that this process is unique to the natural viewing apparatus. A camera does not operate in the same way. The specific differences will be...

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...

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...

Painting The Nude

Aims and concept My aim and overall concept is to paint a nude largely from my imagination but using bits and pieces from a variety of sources - much like my life really. First I paint my primed canvas (52 by 52) with a thinned mixture of cobalt blue , yellow ochre and prussian blue and raw umber to deaden any strong hues. I allow this time to dry then draw my arch with chalk and a piece of string. Next I sketch the nude in charcoal . See below Not entirely happy with the arm positions. I start...

Direct Painting

The Direct Painting Method differs from the Venetian Technique and the Flemish Technique in that the artist paints in full color from the very beginning, without requiring an elaborate under drawing or underpainting, and without resorting to the use of glazes or scumbles. All paints except the deepest darks are used as if they were opaque, and are usually applied heavily enough as to appear so. The object, ideally, is to paint the entire picture wet into wet, from start to finish. Terms such as...

Color mixing and psychology Practical painting demonstrations

The earth, a smaller place f21f31 Roses 21 31 All lesson CD Subscribe to cowdisley technical forum 1-1 THE MAGIC OF PAINTING - INTRODUCTION 'Give me some paint, brushes and canvas and I will give you gold, silver, ruby and pearl. I will give you the greatest treasures you have ever seen. I will show you magic. Artists are the greatest alchemists, the best magicians of all. They can make gold from base metals, they can make you laugh and cry and touch your very soul, and they do that every day -...

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...

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. 2Great 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...

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...

Finally listed below are some flawed psychological generalisations regarding color

Temperature - sometimes we speak of hues as being warm or cold. The reds and yellow look warm and the blues and greens look cool. A warm colored room will make you actually feel warmer than a cold colored room by as much as 5 or 10 degrees. A high saturated warm color will seem to expand beyond its borders and come forward. Cold colors are by their nature recessive and shrinking. Emotion - Very lively and vital people tend to like bright colors were as a mentally disturbed person may prefer...

Advanced Perspective No

Oil Painting Perspective

Here is a painting that utilizes a single vanishing point without unduly discomforting the eye. I call this roll-over perspective. My aim in this painting was to paint the total extent of the landscape beyond what the camera or the eye would see, and without moving the eye's cone of vision. As the landscape is essentially flat the illusion needed is one that combines (in the perspective mode) a plan view with an elevation. Also to make the transition as seamless as possible Secondly the...

Iian Neil writes

'Certainly Bouguereau does have a certain Romantic flavour to his works, but by and large he did not work in the style of Delacroix, David-Freidrich, or Gericault, to name a few exponents of that style. When I look at Bouguereau's work, the overwhelming impression I receive is of Classical polish and perfection, its potential severity softened with aspects of Romanticism. One must understand that by describing Bouguereau's work as Photo-Idealism one risks classing him amongst those who merely...

Renoir thought farmers should fire the odd shot at artists who painted in the fields Not to kill just frighten them off

Titian, a painter not known to acquiesce in matters artistic, immediately disputed the sculptor's assertion. Would you care to make a wager on it he challenged. Why not, replied Donatello. Prove to me a painter can, in the one painting, match the work of a sculptor and I will give you five gold coins. Your on, smiled Titian, sticking out his paint-stained maw. Remember, a sculpture shows all sides of the face including the back of the head, cautioned Donatello, suddenly suspicious and not...

First The Pearl A Lesson In How To Look At Things

An apprentice painter might learn how to hold a brush, mix colors or how to use a palette knife, but it matters nothing if the same person does not learn how to 'look' at things, and to look with the eye of someone who wants to explain the world in terms of paint. After many years of learning to 'look' we come to understand the nature of things and how they relate to each other. This first lesson is an entertaining introduction to give you some idea of what I mean by 'looking'. Don't be too...

Techniques Of Painting In Oils

From the earliest days of oil painting to the time of this writing (late Twentieth Century, into the early Twenty-first), a number of oil painting techniques have evolved. A great deal has been learned through the processes of trial and error and from the experiments of various artists through the centuries. From Jan and Hubert Van Eyck, possibly the first innovators to paint pictures in oils, in the late Fourteenth and early Fifteenth Century, to William Bouguereau, Jean L on G r me, Alexandre...

Color Harmonies And Psychology

Using colors and developing a color scheme for your painting is a lot easier than you think. Many more color combinations work than don't work. Let us think more on the music analogy where each note has pitch, force and length - just as in painting each color has hue, value and saturation. A chord in music is a collection of notes that harmonise. Similar to music I like to think paintings can be composed of color chords. A painting 'chord' could then be thought of as a collection of colors that...

Painting Cloths And Fabrics No

Grisaille painting the classic method of painting sub-forms in shades of grey paint in an effort to divide the processes of painting into easy stages. This is the first stage after drawing and its purpose is to render value or tonal differences between the forms. Strictly it means 'painting in grey,' but for practical purposes artists usually use favourite browns or muted blue greys. I use a mix of raw umber and cerulean. Grisaille painting is often a precursor to numerous applications of...

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...

Drawing So Whats In A Line

Lines that define the shape of the human body are those we most notice. The human body is our yard-stick. To decide how big or far away something is we can have someone stand beside it. We quickly learn to recognize the human form, above all else, as our pre-emminent shape, then we may look for details, male, female, child, adult or aged. We have a great commonality of experience when differentiating the subtleties of the human body, and so it is with drawng. There are many lines or edges in...

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...

Aerial Perspective And Atmosphere

The best magicians will pull a rabbit out of the hat then the rabbit will become a balloon that floats into the air, the balloon will burst and pigeon will appear in its place, the pigeon will explode into a cloud of confetti and as it settles we find the magician has vanished You see great magic, like great art, has many levels - and they are usually subtle and seamless. That is why it will last. Whereas rabbits and hats may be for the children, works of Titian or Watteau might be for the...

Shadow And Transparency

Let us recall our lesson on sunset and sunrise and remember the effect of atmosphere on light rays. Remember how the motes in the sky or mist intercepted the long blue rays and let the red through Now we will treat that 'mist' as a piece of glass or plastic a solid yet semi -transparent medium. In the first example below the reddish pigment particles suspended in the glass are sparsely arranged. As with the earth's atmosphere at sunset the pigment particles in the glass absorb the blue-green...

To Create Three Dimensional Spaces

The rendering of a three dimensional landscape, portrait or still life on a two dimensional surface is to some people a trick, and we know tricks are mostly magic As with magic some people are content to just observe and wonder at the skill of the magician, others want to know how the trick is done, while a few want to do it themselves. If we lived in a yellow two dimensional world and a blue ball passed through we would experience something like this Let us imagine we live in a giant room...

Innovations Of Rembrandt

Lootwit Paint

Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn, whom many consider the greatest artist of all time, learned all that was then known about oil painting while still a very young man, surpassing his teachers very early in his career, and then proceeded to add his own discoveries to the technical knowledge of his time. To this day his best works remain unsurpassed, and serve as inspiration to the rest of us who paint. This being the case, any book on advanced techniques must address Rembrandt separately and at...

How Light Works Its Magic

FRONT, PICTORIAL AND AMBIGUOUS LIGHT 1. 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...

Classic Illusion And Photorealism

Here we will examine the notion that good paintings can be made by simply copying photographs. To do this we shall return to the latter half of the last century when photography was all the rage and the great debate of the time was whether photography should confine itself to science or also develop as an art form. The perceived danger to painter's incomes was what spawned the impressionsists who believed representational art was doomed. Meanwhile it gave the academy painters something to think...

Cascading Light And Shade

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...

Abstract And Texture Painting

Many confuse abstract painting with modern painting or modern 'art'and wars and battles rage in the 'art' world We are concerned here only with painting. In truth, an abstract design is one that has no pattern and an abstract painting is one that has no form. The painting above is not a photograph but its realism is undeniable. It has form but no pattern (repitition). In a previous lesson I stated 'the human mind does not like to be overloaded with detail, particularly in a painting. It revels...

The Flemish Technique

The earliest oil painting method evolved from the earlier discipline of egg tempera painting, as an attempt to overcome the difficulties and limitations inherent in that medium. As this took place initially in Flanders, the method is referred to as the Flemish Technique. Essential to this method of painting are a rigid surface primed pure white, and a very precise line drawing. The Flemish painted on wood panels primed with a glue chalk ground, which caused the transparent passages to glow with...

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...

The Venetian Technique

Titian and Giorgione are generally credited with originating what became known as the Venetian Method of oil painting. The Venetian Method, or Venetian Technique, shares with the Flemish Method the use of transparent glazes for the shadows, darker darks and for certain special effects, and opaque highlights, but differs from the Flemish method in several important ways. The method evolved out of necessity, as the church desired large paintings of religious scenes for cathedrals, and wealthy...

All Paintings on this page are by William Whitaker

William Whitaker Paintings

STUDENT ACTIVITY Write a short essay on the relationship between size and wall presence, colors and wall presence, design and wall presence. Give examples of each. Also explain how you think William Whitaker gives his paintings such great wall presence. Allow 40min. GO TO Bill's demonstration painting lesson menu I took this photo at the end of the first painting session. With neither face nor hands to slow nne down, I was able to bring itthis far pretty easily. Given the Ingres-like neck and...