3785: Determination

This was a fairly simple composition but the challenge was in the edges. Especially with the clouds. I want to have a large variety of edges in my paintings but more soft edges than hard but I’m having trouble achieving the look I want. The brushes I work with right now are all flats which inherently put down hard edges. Tomorrow I’m going to try some softer round and filbert brushes and see what happens.


Narrative: The awe inspiring beauty and majesty of a colossal mountain. “I feel so small and insignificant next to natures wonders but my mind is inspired to achieve something momentous.”

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

Drawing: Getting everything in the right place was somewhat easy with this composition. I just needed to make sure that I put the peek of the mountain and the figure in the very center of the painting. I needed to make the figure larger because I didn’t have any super tiny brushes to use.

Perspective: I pushed the atmospheric perspective a bit to make sure that the figure had a clear separation from the mountain. The separation is important for noticing the figure.

Value > Color: Needed to get the values just right to separate the figure from the mountain and have a conversation between the top of the mountain and the clouds along with the figure. The color could be richer in the clouds, I added too much white. Rich colors tend to stir the emotions while subdued colors calm them. Yet I put too much purple in the bottom of the clouds bringing too much attention to them.

Form: I used transparency in the mountain color to create variations so the mountain looked like it receded in space. This is super important for communicating it’s colossal size.

Shape Design: The center line running through the painting is important to bring attention to the figure and it’s opposing size to the mountain.

Composition: Simple composition. The photographer did all the work here I just translated it to paint.

Brushwork/Texture/Edges: Too many hard edges over the entire painting. I need to really get out of my comfort zone and soften all the edges to the extreme and leave the hard edges next to the focal points.

Other: Create paintings with simple compositions 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, the 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 go deep on for decades.
    • Paintings with a narrative. Figure or animal in an environment.
    • How can I get more specific with this?

Session Details