3791: Drowning In the Day to Day

I’m beginning to see narratives everywhere. Random images from Unsplash can have so many stories that I would love to paint. Not all good, not all bad.


Narrative: I don’t feel well and I have so much that I need to do every day. I feel like I’m drowning.

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

Drawing: With any portrait the drawing is paramount.

Perspective: None.

Value > Color: Values are close but the color is a bit pale.

Form: I’ve modeled the form as best as I could but it still looks a bit messy. It’s important that I keep practicing this because I don’t want the narrative to be overshadowed by lack of skill.

Shape Design: More smooth modeling than shape design.

Composition: Simple, two major shapes and a dynamic angle to suggest movement.

Brushwork/Texture/Edges: Brushwork is distracting for me and I would have like it better if I spent the time to soften the edges on the outside of the canvas.

Other: Feeling matters.

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: Find a subject matter I can go deep on. Each subject has its own intricacies that need training in order to master. I need to pick something and stick to it for a long time. Hopefully something that people will want to buy as well. Let go of what I think I know and focus on communicating emotions. Skill only matters when the narrative requires it.

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