Great exhibition at the NY Met Museum last month – Singer Sargent and Friends. Not that I’m paint more, I learn much more from seeing original works up close. It was an amazing exhibition because of the range of styles that he painted in. My photos don’t do the art justice, but since the exhbit has now ended, some of you might enjoy seeing the work.
I liked this portrait of Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife. Apparently Stevenson was a restless person who often paced, so Sargent caught him mid-stride.
This beautiful panel was a study of a larger work .
I found this portrait an interesting study too because he masterfully drew a viewer’s gaze to the face. There was only a very general suggestion of the piano keys so as not to draw attention away from the center of focus.
Just a quick post for those of you who might be interested in great composition / concept art courses. Schoolism only offers a lower priced yearly subscription every September – it caps after the 1st 2000 signups. There are 18 courses that you can take all together.
I’m starting with Nathan Fowke’s Pictoral Composition course (LACAD, LA Figurative Arts Academy) it’s really helpful – for both traditional as well as digital artists. It’s a 9 week course, but self-paced – each week has about eight 10-minute videos. There is weekly homework and videos of other student’s work. The cheapest option is $144 which doesn’t come with video feedback and redraws from Nathan – but it can help people like me who are attending school full time or working full time. Even if you’re on the cheaper plan, you can look at his critiques and redraws of other students who are taking the premium course – at $1000-1500 per course, so there’s plenty to learn from just watching. Whenever you’re finished, you can switch to another class.
I’ll show one of my exercises in a following post, but here’s an example from Piet Mondrian that I liked. I had seen Mondrian’s geometric work, but I had never seen his early work and how his art evolved. The point Nathan was making with the Mondrian example was that he was exploring the internal structure underneath what was being seen – so he was continually abstracting and simplifying – but also keeping connections and relationships, balance, harmony etc. I appreciate all the thought and time that has gone into Nathan’s course.
School at RMCAD starts back officially tomorrow. My classes this term are Mastering the Pencil and 3D Design.
I finished my watercolor portrait workshop with Hamid at Gage Academy this past week, but I still wanted to learn more, so I checked out Scott Waddell‘s Art of the Painting video. It’s great! His demo is for oil, but most of his principles work for all classical painting. He starts off ‘posterizing’ the major lights and darks, establishes the values, then shifts into conceptualizing mode, carving the face in 3D in color. I found the method straightforward and much simpler than just trying take in all the information at once. Scott supplements his painting with video illustrations of the behavior of light on 3D surfaces.
Here’s a crow that I finished this afternoon.There’s a noisy crow family that regularly visit us. I recently got some beautiful Caran d’ache watercolor pencils that I heard about from James Gurney. They are much more pigment-rich than the Derwents that I was using and they’re fantastic combined with Niji water brushes when hiking or painting on the road in plein air.
I have a month off before school starts back in September, so I have a chance to do more recreational art and art discovery. Last week, Eastside / Evergreen Association of Fine Arts had a little painters get-together where some painters did demos of plein air outside, while others painted a model.
It was fun.. a real painting party. I don’t have anything to show you from this – I’m still getting a handle on landscapes, but here’s Steve Whitney’s little demo. I’m enjoying Mitch Albala’s Landscape book.
We also had a surprise visitor out by our pond yesterday. I don’t think he’s just admiring our koi. Fortunately the fish are now too big for him and the fishing line keeps other predators away.
In these exercises, we had to select works of art that reflected techniques of atmospheric perspective or ways of rendering depth or distance by tone, hue, or detail. Here are my comments on the paintings as well as my painting of Bracketts Landing near my home in Edmonds (last, exaggerated colors).
Caillebotte: Closer figures are darker than the ones in the background. Compare the dark dog and figures in the fore grand compared to the light building and person crossing the road in the back. More precise detail is given to foreground figures than those in the distance, mimicking human vision. There is strong one-point perspective composition. The side opening bridge create the illusion of depth. The railing also shows much more detail closer than farther.
Michael Orwick: Michael Orwick is a painter from Oregon that my mom recently interviewed. In Misty Morning, atmosphericperspective convey strongly by both the relative sharpness of closer trees and the relative lightness of farther trees. This painting also is a good example of how hue can be used to convey sense of depth. The close trees are orange and brown and trees in the distance behind the fog are more lavender.
Bierstadt: In Bierstadt’s painting, atmosphericperspective is conveyed by fine detail in the foreground figures, using shadows and sharp contrast (look at the use of white on the figures). It’s also possible to see details like the fringe on the mats that are being made. In the mid ground, the mountains ad less distinct with a narrower range of contrast between colors. Also Bierstadt show masterful use of contrast differences between the waves close to the viewer and far to convey atmosphericperspective.
Seurat: In Sunday Afternoon, atmosphericperspective is conveyed by detail and contrast. Examples of detail and contrast to create the illusion of depth are notable for instance in the woman with an umbrella in the foreground (strong dark garment and light face) vs. mid ground (more subtle differences in contrast). Analysis of hue in this painting is more complex because figures are in sun or shade, but what Seurat does seem to do is have bands of hue at depths that connect characters at that level whether they are in sun or shade, creating a more uniform illusion of depth. Examples include row of people in the foreground in shadow vs. a little farther back in sun, and then still farther seated in shadow.Brackett’s Landing in Edmonds, WA.
I had a breakthrough in painting this week, mixing more colors and getting more of a sense of the brush. There are still things I struggled with, but this was turned out much better than I thought and it’ll be a surprise for my cousin and her husband.
I was also searching this past week for creative commons sources for reference photos and I found a nice site called Paint My Photo which has a lot of high resolution photos of animals, landscapes, and portraits that I’ll definitely use. The site brings artists and photographers and each enjoys the other’s work.
I think I’m going to tackle another interesting bird for my next work.
Here’s blue kangaroo that I finished from my trip to the zoo. I found out that I’m probably using too little water and paint in my gouache. I had assumed that letting the paint dry up was fine as it can be reconstituted with water, but I found out that that’s not the case. I’m working on a portrait now and hope to have something to show soon.
I’m color mixing more now.
This beautiful Cooper’s hawk was on our neighbor’s roof this morning. Coopers and sharp-shinned hawks are pretty similar except I think this is a Cooper because of his big head. Here’s a close up of his head. I wish I had a little larger zoom lens, but this was still pretty cool.
I visited a neat solo exhibition today – Lynda Lowe at Abmeyer + Wood near Pike Place Market in Seattle. She had beautiful mixed media pieces with watercolor, oil, and wax on wood. The title of the show was Resonance and her figures of birds or objects seemed to resonate from mathematical symbols and scaffolding. The gallery told me that she’s a local artist.
We also visited the Patricia Rovzar Gallery. I especially liked some of the artwork there made out of ‘found’ materials. I’m going to try and visit galleries more on a regular basis.
I’m on break for another week and have had the chance to experiment with gouache. Gouache is an opaque watercolor paint. I’m finding it to be a more natural medium for me than transparent watercolor or oil.
I also had the chance to go to the zoo yesterday so I’m thinking of trying to paint some birds or animals.