3784: All This Time On the Wrong Path

I’m putting narrative first and it’s coming directly from my current feelings, experiences and emotions.


Narrative: Working so hard and achieving so much to realize that you’re on the wrong mountain and the place you need to be is a whole other climb away and there is no clear path to get there. “I thought I had achieved so much and I reached my goal but I’m on the wrong path entirely and I have no idea how to get to where I really need to be.”

How well does the technical aspects communicate the narrative, emotion, story?

Drawing: The figure needed to be drawn well and slightly slumped.

Perspective: The fading of the clouds communicates distance between foreground and background.

Value > Color: The two main objects are the darkest. Two opposing objects, darkest dark, with a clear gap between, the lightest light. As little color as possible, only in the sky and a bit on the rocks next to the figure. Let the value do all the work.

Form: Hard shapes for the two main players in this story and everything as soft as possible.

Shape Design: Hard shapes for darkest values.

Composition: Simple composition. Two main objects and a diagonal gap between. The focus is on the difference and the gap between. Here and there.

Brushwork: Hard edges for the two main players and the clouds as soft as possible. Where I am is solid, where I want to be is solid, the path to get there is unclear.

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

Accumulated Learning

Narrative: Narrative first, it is what determines how I use the technical aspects of painting. How well do the technical aspects help me communicate emotion, narrative. What does it make me feel, why does it make me feel? “Be your own favorite artist”.

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. Careful drawing effects shape design directly.

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. Not using a brush is an option.

Texture / Edges: Actively use edges to inform the composition more. Have a 80/20 variety of edges. Soft everywhere but the focal point. Think about how depth of field works in a camera. Use this painting as an example.

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.

Session Details