Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Last night was the 9th anniversary show for Cannibal Flower. It was in a great warehouse space, but boy was it HOT! Here's a quick drawing I did in my sketchbook trying to capture a few of the people who were there. I will always enjoy improvising composition, especially on the spot!
Friday, August 28, 2009
here's a new painting. I've been feeling very experimental in terms of process and subject matter lately, I'm having fun! there's been an evolution to this piece, but here's how it turned out. it's my latest toss-up... acrylic, collage, and dirt on canvas, 30 by 40
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Paint is paint. You can paint a wall, paint a sign, paint a car. The majority of the time, paint is used to cover a thing with a flat color. But like I said earlier, you can also use paint to create the effect of chiaroscuro, which is the illusion of light on form, and creating this effect is very logical. Now, I want to state here that while creating the illusion of chiaroscuro is very straightforward and frankly mathematical and can be expressed and understood fairly quickly and easily, truly understanding the "art" of painting is a personal journey that will take sometimes more than the artists' lifetime to master. That's how Vincent can say "painting is like algebra" and at the same time also speak about it's mysteries...
So back to the logical side of things. As I said in my earlier post, the effect of chiaroscuro is about painting two different "keys" of the same relationship of local colors, one light in value and one dark in value. What is interesting is how flexible the artist can be in expressing the "feeling" of a certain local color relationship. For example the "feeling" of the difference in value and color between, say, a white shirt, a skin tone, a red vest, and blue jeans, can be all over the place in terms of how light or dark or even overall hue (blue or orange or any color) I tried to make a new chart that further clarifies my thoughts on the idea. Sometimes images succeed when words fail.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Art Center is on break for three weeks! But I'm still teaching. Today I had a student come by who wanted a painting lesson. I don't normally do that, but last term was so frazzled since I was filling in for another teacher who had a heart attack, that I felt like I owed him (and frankly all the students in last term's class) So we decided to both do a master copy, it's always a good way to practice seeing and painting values... He picked a painting by Moroni and we went for it. It's a very simple composition and a very limited palette. We started with a monochrome acrylic underpainting and then painted in oil on top with a limited palette of White, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Venetian Red, Mars Violet Deep, Burnt Umber, and Blue Black. I liked how mine came out so I thought I'd post this detail of the painting to my blog.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
I think a lot about what representational painting is in order to explain it to my students at the Art Center. For a long time in my mind I've tried to work out a "grand unified theory" of color but have never seemed to be able to tie all the ends together into a neat package. Lately however I feel like I've gotten closer than ever. One quote that has always surprised and fascinated me is by van Gogh, "And then I do not know how you will handle your colors, but that matters little. Just continue on: there is no better education than painting outdoors; you must always compare things thoroughly with one another, especially in tone. Painting is like algebra; that is to that as that is to that." I've always found that curious, the 'wild man from Arles' comparing painting to algebra of all things?!? But now I think I'm starting to know what he's talking about... Creating the effect of light and shadow, or chiaroscuro, is a very specific thing the artist is doing with paint. Let me see if I can explain it. Things in the world have a certain actual lightness or darkness to their surface, or "local color". Things can't be whiter than white or blacker than black. The artist only has from white to black (and the range of greys in between) to work with. The artist might be making a painting of a person with a white shirt, fair skin, red vest, and blue jeans... four colors of things that in actuality range in value (or tone) from nearly white to nearly black. They have a certain relationship to each other in terms of value and hue (color) When the artist is creating the effect of chiaroscuro, they are creating two different 'keys' of the same relationship of those four local colors, one in an 'upper' or lighter register (chiaro) and one in a lower or darker register (scuro). When these two sets of local color relationships are placed next to each other, the effect to the viewer is the inescapable appearance of light on form. It's very logical or as Vincent calls it, algebraic. CLICK HERE FOR RELATED LINK
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
In my classes at Art Center I like to do small paintings in order to explain something in particular like a limited palette (burnt umber/ultramarine blue) or how creating the effect of "chiaro-scuro" relates to "values" in paint. So here a few of the latest class demos. oil on paper, various sizes
I was in San Diego over the weekend at a place called Camp Queen. They have all kinds of activities for the kids to do, and one of them was an afternoon of painting with me. It was similar to the workshop I did at the Kidspace Museum, the main theme being 'plein air' painting, finding inspiration in the world around us. Here's a few shots of me and the kids in action and the 20 minute portraits I made of a few of them. Also, I did a landscape and whenever we saw a new creature, like a crawdad or tadpole, I added it. Then the kids wanted to get in the painting too so they ran over and posed too! The reason it looks so light is I used the same "washable and non-toxic" paint as they were using and it was really WEAK! Still we all had a good time; and what's fun is you never know how you might make an impression on young kids... maybe one of them will take up painting!