3783: Where Do We Go From Here?

A little bit of an experiment today. I was working too fast on this painting and not caring about the drawing. That was a mistake. Then I ended up seeing how it would work out if I scraped it all off and worked back into it again.

What I do like about it is the “Sfumato“. It has an interesting dream like quality and something I could really use in my future paintings. I’ll have to continue to play with the technique.

The other thing I did was blur out the reference. That was a mistake. I was trying to get technology to do the translation for me. But I’ve found that my entire purpose for painting is that translation process. This is MY PURPOSE as an artist. To look at something and filter it through my brain, my experiences, my everything and paint what comes out on the other end. I’ll begin to move away from using tech to help me.

What did I learn?

Drawing: Drawing and taking my time placing paint down is STILL very important.

Perspective: Always push the atmospheric perspective. Make the objects further back a little more lighter and a bit closer to blue.

Value > Color: Value is king regardless of the color. So stop worrying about how saturated the color is with these Ai generated images. Just go for it and learn.

Form: I love the difference in form between the landscape and the figures. It’s basically all about edges. I obliterated all the edges except for what was close to the figures. I need to do more of this.

Shape Design: By not taking my time with the drawing I killed all the interesting shape design. By scraping out all that paint and getting back to the big masses I was able to bring the basic shape design back.

Composition: I moved the figures over to the right a bit and put them on a third. Ai generated images always want to put the figures in the center.

Brushwork: I’ve learned that no brushwork is an option. Removing all edges by scraping the painting down or fuzzing it all out with a paper towel or my finger.

Narrative: Before I scraped it out it was just a basic image of two people hiking in the mountains. After, it was two people lost in a dreaming landscape. Also, the biggest mistake I’m making on these painting is not establishing the narrative first. The narrative is what determines all compositional and technical moves.

Other: Take on easier paintings because time is an issue right now.

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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