Monday, August 30, 2010

Class 5— September 2 — Class Collage

You’ll receive a mystery photograph to paint today. Come prepared to paint a 5x7” painting whether on paper or canvas. At the end of the day we’ll assemble our collage of paintings to reveal what we’ve painted.

Hi gang,

This class should be a little lighthearted fun, so put down what you’re working on and come play with us! I have a challenge to give you. In class I’ll hand you a photograph, or should I say a 5x7” part of one photograph, which you can paint in class. Did I mention that the photo is not in color? Oh yeah, you need to make it your own. The fun and challenging part of it is that your little painting needs to respect the values you see in the photo, and catch the divisions of space fairly accurately, so when we assemble them together it makes one whole painting that fits together.

Let me show you an example of one the class did several years ago, which we printed and used as an invitation to one of our class shows. It really was a fun experiment and made a surprisingly successful collage.

Class Collage 2005
We all know one another’s work well enough that I bet you can look at it and identify who painted which section, even though this was done in 2005! The scale of the images was smaller here, since we had more artists taking part, and of course these are all in pastel. You can use any medium you prefer this week. You can see part of the photograph with the gridlines showing each section tacked below the painting. No one saw the entire image until we had finished the individual paintings. (And this is a familiar place to Albuquerqueans—our beloved Sandia Peak.)

So come prepared to take up the challenge and play along this week. Bring along your increased scale paintings from last week to share in class, whether you’re completely finished or not. I’d love to know what you thought of the exercise.

I hope you enjoy this class!

Keep going, gang,

Friday, August 27, 2010

Increased Scale demo painting--WIP

The painting as it stood at the close of the class on Thursday, 8/26.
I hope you enjoyed seeing the short demonstration I did in class. I used a piece of yellow Pastelmat, 17" x 24", and taped off a section about 5" x 7". I used my soft pastels for this painting. The idea of this class is to encourage you to carry a small portion to a nice finish before removing the tape and finishing the rest of the painting. I chose that small scale painting area by placing my corners over my photo to find the area of greatest interest.

But first let's cut some paper.

How to measure paper proportional to the photo .
Remember one good way to measure paper is to turn your large sheet upside down and match the corners of the photo and paper. Then draw a line bisecting the diagonal of the photo and continue it up until it runs off the paper. You can then measure along this axis (say 17"), make a dot on the angled line, and add cut lines. This way you know your paper will be the same proportions as your photograph. (Bill observed that this is like using the slider on a digital photo to make it larger or smaller without changing its proportions.) This way your paper can be any size and the entire image will be included on the painting. 

Of course, my wonderful means of measuring paper may be helpful, but I fell apart on the next step! I just eyeballed where the cropped section would go on the page, and taped it off. You might grid your photo and paper next time, so that you know the size of the cropped area is proportional to the painting. *Note-- this area is not the same size as the cropped photo, unless the paper you're using is the same size as the photo. It will be bigger, but in the same location. (Approximately--if you're like me.)

Above is the paper with the small scale box taped off, and below is a close up of the first stage, showing the completed painting inside the cropped box. It took me about an hour to do this, as I wanted to resolve the color, light, and a certain amount of the detail.

Inside the box.
Next I removed the tape and did a sketch, matching elements in my photo to the small scale image. (Many thanks to the photographer, Phil, who posted this picture of southwestern Montana for people to use in the Landscape Forum at WetCanvas. Beautiful photo, Phil!) This is always a fun and interesting part for me.

Adding the drawing for the enlarged scale painting.
You can see that I have started on the sky and mountains, not stressing too much to match anything yet. Look at the first image at the top of this blog post to see how far I got while teaching and painting at our three-hour class. I'll continue it, of course. I probably would have struggled to get the trees in the proper scale, and fought having the grasses cover quite so much of the piece, had I not done the smaller scale part first. I purposely chose a rich photograph with lots of interest.

I enjoyed seeing all your creative minds at work. My challenge was and is to be creative with this idea. Make it your own. Do you want to vignette the piece? Will the outside box be a different season, a different color scheme, or somehow texturally different? Will you use differing media inside and out? Play with could be inspirational. But don't miss the lesson intended. Be sure that you see the ways you think and move differently when you increase the scale. Scale changes strokes from fingers and wrist to elbow and arm. The scale of your stroke might not increase if you're using pastels (unless you use a larger stick), but you can increase the sizes of your brushes. The question is, how does this change the way you think about the painting?

Have fun!

Keep going, gang,

And thanks to Malinda for letting me shoot these photos with her camera 'cause I can't remember my brain, let alone to bring my camera! She went to a lot of trouble...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hot/Warm/Cool charts from last week

Gouache hot/warm/cool chart
I really enjoyed seeing the results of last week's class today. It seems these charts inspired you all with some good ideas for color schemes. The charts themselves were little works of art, of a sort, and some could even be framed as-is!

I noticed that a couple of you used the same colors for hot, warm, and cool, which wasn't necessary but made things interesting. You can change it up, using a variety of color, including those that are neutralized or mixed, rather than purely saturated tones.

I also found that I enjoyed most of the color combinations on top of the cool base most often, probably because we think of the sky as being behind things and most of us used blue for the cool. It would be interesting to use other cool colors to see if the inclination is consistent.

If any of you have snapshots of your chart or the paintings you did, send them along so I can post them. It's up to you whether you want me to use your name, or remain anonymous!

Keep going, gang,

Addendum: Here's a photo of Barbara Clark's chart.

 I love the creative way she played, yet it's inspirational, too! Be sure to take a look at her web page.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Class 4— August 26— Increased Scale

Today we’ll do something a little bit different. I want you to work in the range of 16x20” or larger. Bring an excellent photograph and your corners to crop the view. You’ll begin painting in a small area taped off on the page, which will contain the area of interest, then remove the tape and continue the rest of the painting, experimenting to see how the small scale start affects your overall painting. You’re invited to be creative and try various things with this painting.

Hi gang,

The idea for this experiment, which I’ve never done as a class before, is to learn what increasing the scale from a smaller painting does. I suggest using an enlarged photo and physically cropping down to one small area using your corners, NOT necessarily in the center. Here’s what I mean:


Crop it like this, to the area of interest.

You might figure out the scale of the paper by doubling or tripling the size of the photograph, then taping off an area on the paper to paint the view below. For instance, it might be a 6x9” area, on a sheet of Wallis paper 18x24” in size (guessing at the size—not to scale. I’ll leave that to the more mathematically minded.)

Then after completing this small painting inside the taped off area on the large sheet, remove the tape and consider what you need to include (or not) from this view:

I often find that it helps me to have painted the area of greatest interest first, so that when I increase the scale of the painting I don’t necessarily get bogged down with it being so large. It may be a bit like painting the eyes in a portrait. The rest lives up to it. In other words, it’s easier to register the rest of it to the small piece this way. Be creative with this. I won’t have time to demonstrate a LARGE painting, but we’ll go over the idea and discuss it in detail at the class.

Please bring the hot/warm/cool exercises to look at and discuss, too!

See you Thursday.


* This is a Google Street View image from Prince Edward Island.