Issuing the Call

Issuing the Call
Issuing the Call

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Monday, January 30, 2012

The Value of knowledge

So it has been a couple of weeks since my last post.  As mentioned before I started to paint Plein Air paintings because I found my landscapes to be flat.  I was hoping that in doing on site paintings this problem would be fixed but all I found I was doing was repeating these same problems.  So I took a step back and did a lot of research as to what I was doing wrong.  Through my research I found many things I was doing wrong.  First of these was my tonal depth was off.  But a big part of this came from not taking into consideration the paint I was using.  What I mean is that I rarely use black paint.  It kills colors, making them dull and lifeless.  Well what I never considered before is that white will also do this.  I’ve always known that black and white are not colors but tones.  I just never thought of them as the same coin and thus both dramatically affecting the colors they are mixed with.  So if I wasn’t going to use white as much as I was what was I going to use to lighten up my colors?  Well the answer was either I buy precise premixed colors which is both expensive and can limit your choices or I just use light versions of my main colors.  I went with the later.  I’ve now added a light yellow, for my warm colors and a light blue for my cool colors.  In using these instead my colors keep their chroma and value base, without becoming dull and chalky. 

Also I learned a lot more about color theory.   I learned there are 4 properties to paint, Value, Hue, Chroma and Temperature.  Value is light and dark (grey scale).  Hue is the name of the color itself and I don’t mean “sand” or “Sea Green”, I mean “Red, Yellow and Blue”.  Chroma is the color’s relative brightness or dullness.  A fire truck is a bright red hue but a brick is a duller red hue.  Temperature is how warm or cool a color is.  Red, yellow and orange are warm, where as blue, green and violet are cool as a general rule. 

I learned not only about value contrasts but also Hue, Chroma and Temperature contrasting too.  All to produce a better more visually appealing painting.

With this I learned that dramatic value passages are for more appealing to the viewer then similar ones which tend to blend together thus making a dull boring looking painting.  A passage is an area of the painting. 

For example the single blueberry in this still life painting is a passage or an area the eye moves across it and onto other passages around the painting.

So to test all of this I did a test painting.  This is the result of it.  

Now see the side by side comparison to see the difference.  The one on the left is before and the one on the right is after.  Also remember both paintings were painted at the same time of day and the same location.

I think I’ll do one more test painting before going out to do another Plein Air painting to further en-grain the new skills and knowledge.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Well here is the painting I did yesterday.  I didn't meet and tonal goal.  I think I was distracted by how cold it was with the wind blowing at me from off the lake.  I had forgotten my gloves too and by the end I couldn't feel my fingers at all. 

    I've sat down and thought about what all went wrong and I think I may go out again to the same area and try doing this painting over.  I choose a different angle and I'll bring gloves and maybe a blanket too.  I need to think more about the gray scale while working on this.  Maybe I'll make a scale and have it with me as I'm mixing my colors to get the proper tonal depth.

    The cold had a interesting effect on my paints too.  They became very thick and required more mineral spirits to work with them.  This painting was done on a panel so the paint when thined properly moved around a little easier and thus dried faster.

    I had the sheriff drive by twice but he didn't stop and another truck drove by, but beyond that I was alone.  Well there was a small flock of black bird who sat in a tree the near by watching me for a bit, a about 100 plus geese flew over circled then flew off south and two hawks flew over and checked me out too.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Main Street Vineyard

    This is the map selection location for this weeks Plein Air painting.  I've scouted it out a head of time a little.  There is an old abandoned farm out here that I think will make a great focal point for this painting. 

    My First goals for this painting is to try and focus on creating depth and distance through better tonal use.
    My Second goal with this painting is to paint it later in the day with an evening lighting setup.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

900 West 200 North Provo Painting

What a wonderful experience!  I can now see somewhat why painting Plein Air is so addictive.  Just being out of the studio in the fresh air was great.  It took me 3 hours and 22 min. to do this painting.  I've been told that a typical painting should take at least 4-6 hours.  I realized about a third of the way through that you really need to just pick how and where the shadows should look in your painting.  Because the whole thing is changing right in front of you.  Of course I first noticed this when I was trying to paint in some clouds.  I was feeling the whole time I need to paint faster and be more decisive in all aspects.

I guess i should explain that when I do a painting I work top down and back to front.  Also with this style of quick painting I learned I need to block in all my major shapes and the over all major tones too.  I didn't do this with this painting.  Being my first ever I just went out there and started painting.  I also learned that my Maul Stick is an important tool to getting straight cleaner lines (2/3 through the painting).  It is important to lock your painting down, because having a wet painting suddenly blow at you is a bit excited and frustrating.  I still do not know how or where I picked up that yellow paint on my hands, but it quickly spread all over me, my brush handles and into my mouth!  Later that day I even found some under my lower lip and once again all over my hands.

I had 2 neighbors come by and one looked for a bit.  The mail lady walked by but I was still at the beginning so nothing much to see.  My neighbor across the street came home from somewhere and after going inside promptly open their front windows and watched for a bit (they are new and I don't think they know I'm an artist.  They probably think I'm a nutter now).  I had one guy on a funky looking bike ride passed 3 or 4 times, getting slower with each pass.  The problem was I was facing the street so the canvas back was all anyone could see.

I was nervous starting out but as I started painting the rest of the world just disappears and I was off and painting.  Time flew by and before I knew it I was done.  I look forward to next weeks location and painting.  Monday I'll post the new location and goals.  So with out further ado hear is the painting.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

900 West 200 North Provo

    I wasn't sure if this weeks painting was going to happen.  Seeing as the first part of this week I was trying to recover from a nasty bout of the flu.  But this morning I felt great and when I got up early it was a clear day.  So I decided to go for it.  Seeing as this is my first Plein Air ever I decided to do it out in front of my studio.  Also this would be a great place to work out unforeseen problems (which there were many).  As stated in the earlier post here is a map of the painting area.

My goals with this painting are really just to start this project and get it going.  I said I was going to start with the first of the year and I mean to do so now.

Plein Air Painting Project

    I’ve come to the conclusion that my landscape paintings need improving.  I want them to move towards being more photo realistic.  I’m not looking for full photo realism or hyper-photo realism, just cleaner and better.  I’ve struggle with tonal difficulties and color temperatures too.  So to tackle all of these at once I’ve decided to finally start doing En Plein Air (in the open) paintings. 

    What are Plein Air paintings, you may ask.  Here is a great article from Plein Air Painters of America explaining it.
    To do this I’m going to do one Plein Air painting a week.  Either I will choose a location or I’ve created maps of Utah Valley that I can roll on to find a location randomly. 

    At the beginning of the week I will show the location I’m going to go to on a screen shot of the map.  I will blog about my hopes and goals for that particular painting.  Afterwards I will blog about how things went and my thoughts and feelings about the whole experience that day and any interesting that I may have experienced, i.e. people, animals and such.