3782: Once in Tandem, Now Alone

lately I’ve been picking subject matter at random without much thought of narrative or story. I’m going to try and carefully select imagery that I have an emotional reaction to and can attach a narrative. The narrative is what is going to direct all the fundamentals and actions in creating the painting.

What did I learn?

Drawing: Quick drawing here, not much to it. Drawing with the brush was the challenge.

Perspective: The perspective of the footprints could be better. Next time I’ll measure the drawing of them more closely.

Value > Color: I planned this painting out into 3 major value groups. Mountains, top of sky and snow, bottom of sky. Then I tried to keep each detail within those groups close to the overall groups value.

Form: I was able to describe the form of the sky well with angled strokes and clouds. The mountains were flat but the foreground snow was a challenge to get it to recede into the distance. I had to paint it twice.

Shape Design: The photo already has such good shape design that I just followed that and kept everything as simple as possible.

Composition: I love this composition. Dynamic angles everywhere. The opposing angle of the snow and the sky clouds and the angle of the footprints as well.

Brushwork: I’m trying to paint everything I can with one stroke. The more strokes I put down in a single place the worse it looks. This comes back to control of the brush.

Narrative: This painting is all about movement and time. The angles of the sky and ground give a since of movement while the setting sun and the footprints communicate time. There is also an idea of ending. Soon the sun will set and everything will go dark. The title of the work helps the most in communicating the emotion. The brushwork, perspective, drawing, form, composition and shape design helps with the idea of movement. The value and color is what communicates time best.

Other: I need to finish my posting by the end of each day because doing it in the morning takes too much time from my morning art time.

Accumulated Learning

Drawing: Take the time that it needs. Focus on each brush stroke to improve control, drawing, shape design and speed. Speed is all about efficiency not how fast I move. Figures are the best for challenging my drawing skills. Simple shapes are enough to describe most objects. Challenge myself by doing the initial drawing with a brush. Don’t worry about perfect accuracy, message is paramount.

Perspective: Keep practicing linear and atmospheric perspective. Vanishing points for objects and interior space. How multiple objects in a landscape recede. How object further away get lighter and more blue, except for white. Push the atmospheric perspective.

Value > Color: Identify the major value and color separations at the beginning of the painting. In most cases the painting can be broken down into just a few major values and colors. Value first, hue and saturation second. High contrast and high saturation near focal point. Test all the major color mixtures and when you’re unsure. Try to make the sky glow.

Form: Continue to think of each object as existing in space and takes up space. Back lighting and front lighting will flatten forms. Overcast lighting will need value harmonies to create form. Oblique lighting shows form best with light and shadow. Turn the form with value shapes not just blending all the time.

Shape Design: Practice and begin to understand what shapes are pleasing and why. Simplify complex shapes always. Squint all the time. Increase the angles of the shapes for a more dynamic look. Study Ai and other artists for shape design.

Composition: Simple subjects for now. Rule of thirds. Edges. Value. Color. All emphasizing the focal point. Use the direction of the brush strokes to emphasize the focal point as well. Learn from other masters of composition. Andrew Wyeth in particular.

Brushwork: Practice describing as much as possible with only one stroke. Improve my ability to soften an edge with a brush. Try to be more expressive with a brushwork. Look at Quang Ho. Expressive brushwork is often executed carefully, not fast. Instead of getting smaller brushes for smaller shapes use surrounding shapes to cut into others. After getting really good at control then I can be expressive.

Narrative: How well do the technical aspects above help me communicate emotion, narrative. What does it make me feel, why does it make me feel? “Be your own favorite artist”.

Other: Stand up at least every 30 minutes.

Keep doing

  • Small paintings for fast iteration of what I want to learn.
  • Working to find my true voice.
  • Simplifying shapes.
  • Getting the value right first and checking when I’m unsure.
  • Finishing a painting daily and reviewing.
  • Squinting.
  • Continue to limit my options when painting. Materials, subject matter,
  • When I’m not painting surround myself with information about painting.

Stop doing

  • Using my smallest brushes.
  • Details everywhere.
  • Listening to podcasts while painting. Music only.
  • Caring what others think about my paintings.

What does “Done” look like?

  1. Gain a deep understanding of my voice. “Know Thyself.”
  2. Find a subject I can do deep on for decades.

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