The real voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. - Marcel Proust

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Kissing vs Painting Edges

Reading more on painting edges, I found this quote from Richard Schmid, master of edges:
Think about edges the way you would think about kissing someone. How many are the ways -- and what can you impart in the process?  Think of edges as exquisite subtleties, as the means to transmit romance, as ways to make your dabs of paint whisper, or shout, and reach nuances beyond the range of color.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

More on edges

I was perusing my Google Reader today and found something I think is a great example of edges in a realistic style painting. Faith Te is a wonderful realist artist from the Philippines. Her post today isn't a landscape -- it's a still life of grapes. But look at those edges!  The crispest edge lets you know right where the center of interest lies.  The other edges are soft (not blurry, which is too easy to do) and lost just where they are supposed to be lost.

Here's a link to Faith's blog, full of other wonderful stuff:
Faith Te's blog

Monday, July 26, 2010

Six Enemies of Painting Mojo

I thought this was a rather timely blog from FineArt Views, reissued today but originally posted in 2009 by Keith Bond.  It talks about the things that will kill your incentive, your faith in yourself as an artist.  He calls them the six D's:
  1. Doubt
  2. Discouragement
  3. Distraction
  4. Diligence (lack of)
  5. Disobedience
  6. Disbelief
Let's see -- 1. Guilty 2. Guilty 3. Guilty .........

FineArt Views

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Using Edges to Create Focus

This was an experiment in edges. I wanted to vary edges, but also use them to pull the eye to the focal point, in this case, the foremost tree where the light hits it. I used a knife to get a crisp edge, and softened the rest of the edges on that tree, then the same for the other trees, with the crisp edge on the second-most tree not quite as crisp. Each tree gets softer edges as you go back in the picture plane.

This was a quick 6x8" but I like the variety of edges.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

On Edge(s)

Next up on my list of things to do and practice could take me a while:  dealing with edges, those wonderful areas in a painting where forms come together. This is definitely something I need to work on. When do you use a hard edge, and when do you use soft edges, particularly in landscape painting?

Just in time for this subject, is a blog retrospective from Stapleton Kearns. One of the earliest blogging artists, Stape has been in the blogosphere a while now, and is currently revisiting some of his favorite topics. He just happens to be reviewing edges as one of those topics.  Here's a link:

Stapleton Kearns' blog

He has some interesting things to say about observing edges from life versus treating edges as part of your intentional design of a painting.

Hopefully edges won't prove to be this scary.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Underpaintings -- The Red Shed Experiments

First up on my list of "things to do so I don't think about losing my painting mojo but while still doing something art-related":  experimenting with different color underpaintings or toned canvases.  I've done a little experimenting in the past, but not with landscapes. I've seen some artists who have fantastic results with a red or crimson underpainting, and others with a warm, raw sienna underpainting.  However, I wanted to try it to experience it myself. Lesson number one: don't just read about how to do something -- try it!

I toned some 6x9" gessoed sheets with alizarin crimson, cadmium red, raw sienna, and just for the heck of it -- black.I then proceeded to paint very simple quick studies of the same scene on each one, using mostly the same colors. And guess what? You really can tell the difference. Granted, these were very loose, quick studies, and I wasn't very careful about purposely leaving the tone come through. But I really could see differences.

Here is the Alizarin Crimson version, followed by a close-up.
Here's the Cadmium Red-toned version:
The Raw Sienna version has an overall warm glow to it:


And the black underpainting was as hideous as it sounded. I know some people who get very good results with this, particularly pastel artists, but it certainly didn't work in this particular experiment. I think there must be more to the use of it that I haven't learned -- or honestly, care to learn at the moment. Maybe I can put that farther down on my list.


All in all, I think the Alizarin Crimson and Cad Red versions seem to have the most potential. I've seen Bill Guffey use the red underpainting to great effect, especially in some of his Google Street View paintings (Link).

What about you? Do you use a toned canvas regularly? If so, what color and why?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Painting Mojo, or What I Learned From Austin Powers

Ok, so it's not *that* kind of mojo. But have you ever lost your desire to paint? I do every once in a while. It could be from being too busy in my non-painting life (if there is such a thing), or from creating a few paintings in a row where I can find no redeeming value. It could be stress, lack of sleep, the phase of the moon, bad news, a sense of impending doom from watching post-Apocalyptic movies -- you name it. Sometimes I think it has no cause. It just happens.

What do you do when your muse flies away and plays hard to get? Personally, I try not to sweat it too much. I find other art-related things to do. Right now, I have been concentrating on learning landscape painting. There is so much to learn and try, I can get overwhelmed. I admit to being in one of those phases right now. 

So I am making a list (I can imagine my husband rolling his eyes, as he often laughs at my love of lists). I'm making a list of all the things I want to try, grouping them into categories (water paintings, trees, etc), so I can do them and check them off. Laugh if you will, but I am hoping there will be some benefit to making my own lesson plans. The list should give me something to concentrate on, instead of whatever it is that is suppressing my painting mojo.  Stay tuned, I will share them with you, no matter how awful they turn out. And maybe, like Austin Powers, I'll find out I had the mojo all along. Yeah, baby.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Georgia State Bird and Mascot

This is a combination brush and knife oil painting of the lowly brown thrasher on a fence. It's also the team mascot for the Atlanta Thrashers, my favorite hockey team. I am sure I could make some joke about "thrashers on the fence" but I shall refrain -- at least until the season starts.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summer Morning on the Toccoa River

Yay, finally had both the time and motivation to paint.  This is 8x10" on resin-coated paper, done with palette knives.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Totally and Completely Off-Topic

I do believe this is my new favorite blog (hope I don't offend anyone reading this -- you know you're all my favorites!). To make it semi-art-related, maybe I can use some of these shots for paintings of interiors.

Catalog Living

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Gouache Quick Study

In the mood for some jungle boogie. Gouache on watercolor paper, 5"x7".

Monday, July 5, 2010

Smoky Mountain Stream

Last summer, we went for a long drive through the Smokies and stopped to take photos. What a beautiful place. This is based on one of those photos.
I've been feeling so rushed lately, even when I paint, that everything in my life feels like a "quick study." For this one, I wanted to slow down and take my time. It's a combination of brush work and palette knife, 11x14" oils on canvas.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Flippin' Sunflower

Thanks for a great idea, DJ!  I should do this more often -- experiment with the orientation of a painting. It definitely makes you think of it differently, rather like looking at your painting in a mirror. This one has a couple of possibilities....