Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Cloud study

Clouds are...... difficult. From a photo online. Trying to figure out the best way to approach volumes and how to edit.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Another process

Step 1
Line drawing of the major shapes. I've always heard to see "shapes" not "things" but never fully grasped why. I guess it helps in recording what you "see" instead of what you "know",  which is what I've been told. For me it also allows you to mentally start with bigger elements, and how they relate to each other.  What works for me, in the drawing stage, is to forget about being accurate to the "shape" and the contours of those shapes, and be more concerned with the "area" those shapes take up.

Step 2
Lightest light, darkest dark and easiest color. The sky was my lightest value, and the shadows of the trees in the mid ground were the darkest value. I find that if I'm going to make a mistake in either of these value points, that it's more to the extreme. I usually tend to make my darkest dark a little too light, so I purposefully go a little darker to be safe. If I feel it's too dark, adding lighter values on top and having darker values poke through feels natural. If I start too light and have to darken, the lighter values underneath make it feel spotty. Also, I was looking for the easiest color to get right. I find, and this is a personal thing, that it's usually a fairly saturated or pure color, and there are no real subtleties to it. For me, neutrals have a lot more room to get them wrong without a good base for comparison.

Step 3
Filling in the rest. Again, always asking myself if the color I'm putting down is lighter/darker, warmer/cooler, more intense/less intense than the colors around it. Also, and I feel this isn't said enough, adjust colors when needed. Just because I put down a color doesn't mean I can't go over it if I feel that my initial observation was off. A lot of other artists are so awesome that they do get it right initially. I do A LOT of adjusting.

Step 4 
Refining. I could have stopped at step 3. I probably should have. This was just adding smaller shapes and slight color variations. I geek out when my initial block in looks like a simple cut out of the refined version. It means my initial color observations were correct and my shapes were good. It really does make me super happy.

Step 5
Towers. I didn't need to add them, and I probably shouldn't have, but I did. Live and learn.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Kitchen process

I've been trying to approach my painting in a more structured way, so I'm usually adding layers for each step, to force myself to be concious of what I'm trying to achieve at what stage. I was pretty happy that I kept it fairly minimal and just worried about the larger shapes of color. The steps below can be found in most painting books, and I've read them a hundred times before, but I feel like it's finally starting to sink in for me.

Step 1
I normally don't tone my "canvas", but in this case the yellow of the light was so strong that it was a quick way to get me in the ballpark. Then a real quick drawing. The hardest thing for me is to ignore detail, so I go out of my way to keep it extra loose and stick to the biggest possible shapes.

Step 2
It's taken me forever to understand the importance of this step. Block in you darkest darks and lightest light. I'm kind of dense when it comes to understanding stuff, but this really is an important step. I may add in the second darkest note or second lightest note, it just depends if I feel it's relationship close enough to either the darkest dark or lightest light, so that it's  not a guess, and more of an observation. Also, if there's a color that I feel I can nail right away, I'll put that in too. Basically I'm trying to line up as many points of reference to get the relationships of colors and values to look believable.

Step 3
Now I'm blocking in the rest of the painting. Basically, the dialogue in my head goes something like this:
"Is this color lighter or darker compared to my darkest dark, lightest light, and color I felt was easiest to get right? Is it warmer or cooler?"
That's basically it. With every color note I put down, I have another point of reference, so the next color   I put down will have more notes to be compared to, (lighter, darker, warmer, cooler) so it becomes more about filling in the blanks than just guessing. Think of it like a crossword puzzle. You go for the easiest answers first so that you hopefully fill in enough blank boxes to have help figuring out the more difficult words. BTW, I'm horrible with crossword puzzles. At the same time all this is going on, I'm adjusting the drawing, meaning, refining shapes so that the proportions and relationships are a little more accurate.

Step 4
Finally, when I'm happy with all the major notes, I'll add detail. Again, I'm always asking how a certain color compares to the colors around it, or to colors that I think are similar to it in other areas of the painting. Big shapes to small shapes. Add a little bit of a noise filter at the end (because I'm cheap like that, and I like the way it looks), and done. Thanks for looking.