Saturday, October 30, 2010

Finding your Visual Voice

I have taken many, many art classes through the years of artist who I admired. I watched how they put their signature painting methods together and would practice it. I did this not to reproduce their work but to improve my own painting techniques.
I have studied for years with a wonderful, award winning, working artist, Audi Stanton, where I learned how to draw, work with watercolors, pastels, acrylics, and collage. (I am sure I am forgetting something).
I have taken college courses in drawing and pottery.
I have been fortunate to take workshops with Charles Reid, Jan Kuntz and Susan Sarback.
I am now taking classes with an Industrial Designer, Bill Monaghan, at the School of Light and Color in Fair Oaks, CA. My goal is to learn technical drawing such as perspective. Have you ever looked at a painting and something doesn't look correct? I call it the "giant cow" problem. The artist paints a beautiful paintings with a cow , barn and fence and it just doesn't look right. A trained eye looks at it and laughs. The perspective is off so much that if the painting was correct, the cow would be a 100 feet tall. This class is teaching me how to use two point perspective. I am also reminded to measure and compare constantly. I am excited about this because it is very left brained.
Now back to find your visual voice. I am reading a recommended book that helps you develop your artistic style. Why would you want to paint like someone else?
I identify with the author because she was good in science and math and took the logical road. Nursing. I have a degree in math and took the logical step into computers. She talks about reading where ignoring your passion is like dying a slow death. I agree.
Finding your Visual Voice - A Painter's Guide to Developing Artistic Style is a great book. After each chapter, you are given assignments to help you find your style.

Oops - forgot to post my finished study from 10/28/10

Oops. I don't know how I forgot to post my study on 10/28/10 but here it is. Oh, I remember now. I made homemade pizza when I got home from class, super cleaned the condo, took care of the cat and husband, cleaned off the patio, scrubbed the bathtub, packed the car and watched Big Bang and Grey's Anatomy. That pretty much took are of my evening.
Here is the finished study of sunflowers and copper pot.
Improving design is my next goal. I was terrified of where I placed my leaves in the finished study.
I was afraid I would make a mistake. Well, if you don't make mistakes, how can you learn.
I am too old in life to worry about such a thing. I need to invite this process into the paintings and learn from them. How else can I improve design?
The important thing about adding the leaves, stem and the bud is that it should not distract you from the focal paint. The large sunflower sitting on the table top.
The leaves and stems contained some color form the flowers.
Just like when you paint a landscape, the trees, foliage, ground, surrounding areas and water, contain sky colors. You should add them into the landscape colors.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Two New Books - Big Art Small Canvas and Collage Discovery Workshop

I have two new books that I am enjoying. You can buy them at or any other online book selling site. I prefer
The first, Big Art small canvas by Joyce Washor, is full of information on perspective, color, value, bright and dull, setting up still life, equipment and just an all around great book on painting. I love the demonstrations and all of that in one reasonably priced book. It even suggests a small studio setup and supplies on a budget.
The other book, Collage Discovery Workshop, shows so many background techniques that I didn't wait to buy it on-line. I had to have it now and bought it was Michael's but you can find it cheaper at I bought it because I walk every day and look for found objects to put in a collage. I found a skateboard wheel the other day and was so excited.

Block Study 10/27/10

After I prepared this study for my post, I realized I don't share after I fix my drawing and adjust some color. These initials studies are posted after I complete them without any adjustments. I let them sit for a while and then I will check the drawing and make changes. I need time away from the study to see where I need to made any adjustments.
Okay - so here is today's study. I was fighting the clouds coming in and completed this in an early morning sitting and an afternoon sitting. Yes, the blocks are sitting models.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Block Study 10/26/10

This was a good block study. The white block and the tabletop in full sun stumped me for a while. I needed to really see what was lighter. The block or the tabletop. The tabletop was lighter but I still needed to paint the block so that it was white.
I enjoyed the study.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Stage 3 Color Study

Here is my stage 3 color study of a copper pot with sunflowers.
I just started working on the flowers and in stage 4 add the highlights, the leaves and stems.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Weekend on a Lake

I spent the weekend on Rollins Lake at the Lakeside Inn. Great little inn that had cabins available with a patio on the side, cable tv and internet access. We were happy it was available because it was raining. Enjoyed a slippery walk to the shoreline and eating berries on the way. Not the ones close to the ground. You know... the ones within peeing distance of local animals.
I forgot my paints but realized, I didn't really want to stand outside in the rain. We enjoyed the electric fireplace and the cozy chair. Curled up and watched documentaries we don't get to see since we canceled cable. Ate cheese sandwiches and listened to the rain. It was nice.
I came home and finished my drawing homework. I am still working on value studies. It is important to notice that the shell is not as dark as the tabletop behind it. The background is the darkest; therefore, the rose is not as dark as I made it. Good lesson.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Raining on my Block Study is a good thing

I put my block study out this afternoon and made sure I had a good drawing. Then I finished laundry and put things away. An hour later, I returned to my block study and realized it was raining. I knew it was overcast but didn't expect the rain.
I started my block study as if it were a sunny day and couldn't get it as cool as it needed to be.
My tablecloth should have been very cool instead of a dull yellow. The red block should have started as a cool magenta on the light plane. The pink block's light plane might have been a cool purple. Instead, it was all warm in the light planes and this is incorrect for an overcast day, let alone a rainy day.
There were no shadows that I could see.
Good study because I learned to trust what I know. Cool colors on the light planes when overcast or rainy.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Learning color is difficult... add a flower and watch my head spin

Here is a color study that made my head spin. The bottles were easier to paint but the flower... OH MY GOODNESS. The focal point should never be that close to the edge as I have painted it. To my defense, though, that flower kept growing!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Value Drawings

I spent the day drawing dark values. This was a recommended exercise. I need to practice seeing and drawing values to help me with my painting. Light and dark, dull and bright, warm and cool are all part of a seeing color.
I found I had a difficult time keeping my values dark and light. Therefore, I started drawing more with charcoal.
I, also, more pink to my color study from yesterday and adjust the painting.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Block Study 10/19/2010 - studying is hard and so is learning color

Today's block study was done quickly. The sun is now best on my porch about 1:30. I exaggerated the color that was reflecting on the blue block. The darkest was the background of the porch. The lightest was the tabletop. The dullest was the darkest shadow side part of the yellow orange block. The lightest part of the blue block was warm. The yellow orange top in sunlight was very warm.
The shadows cast by the block were dull and cool.
I learned this weekend when you have a bright area, you want to lay the color on top of it. If it is very dull, you want to mix at least color and mix it.
Remember to go between warm and cool in the an overcast or foggy landscape.

Completed studies from this weekend

I went to class yesterday and bought another one of Susan Sarback's paintings. It shows an overcast day and is a good example of the colors, values and dullness I should use on the Oregon coast.
Here are a few of the studies I completed today from the weekend plein air class I took.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

It's Rainy on My Study

It rained today while we painted at the park. It was a great way to learn about painting cool landscapes. Everything starts cool. Nothing is a warm color in the first stage. Then you go between warm and cool colors about four times to dull the color down significantly. The sky is still the lightest then the water. The values are still relatively the same just everything is cool. Lots of purple, greens and blues with white.
Good lesson. I just need to figure out how to break up the bands.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Plein Air study 10/16//2010

This weekend, I am spending my time learning more about the impressionist style of plein air. Here is my incomplete study. I still need to break up the lines in the distance. I learned to put the sky colors into the water, ground and vegetation. Also, so keep it all dull.
Oh - and it is hard.
If the water appears blue, begin a pink color. If the water is green, begin with a yellow color. The sky, on a sunny day, you will put down a light yellow and later put blue over it. Light blue. Then, at the third stage put a touch of pink with a lot of white. Then add a darker blue at the top of the sky.

When it comes to reflections, darker objects reflect lighter. Lighter object reflect darker. Interesting. So much to remember. Only 10 percent with be retained.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Blue.. Blue.. Blue Block Study 10/15/2010

Here is my blue block study. I realized that I am so much into my right side of my brain that I do not apply what I previously learned. I forget how to paint a bowl or anything else.
A bowl is just half a sphere. Instead, I start making things up. Good study because I realized I need to keep that left side talking.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Color Study 10/13/2010

Here is today's block study. I included a white bowl. I found I was not using my previous experience to paint the bowl. I had to scrape off the paint and do it, again. I also had a difficult time pushing the red to a dull.
REEE-LAX. Important.
I will look at this painting in a few hours and correct it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Drawing today

I spent the morning take care of appointments and errands. So, I made sure I did drawings today. I then checked yesterday's color block study to see how light the blue surface should be compared to the cloth.
I will get up early and get my new block study setup.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Block Study 10/11/10

I am afraid I didn't take a good picture of this. The block is a lime green. I was happy with the results of the study.
The most important thing I learned today was to put down newspaper before painting.Why? My painting fell off the easel onto the carpet. I picked up the painting and ignored the huge oil stain until the painting was done. Then I went to the internet to figure out what to do. Finally, I dabbed the growing spot with a paper towel and I decided to use the carpet cleaner and a magic block. That worked great. Than I ran the carpet cleaner across it to soak up the excess carpet cleaner.
I then called my husband and thanked him for not having a temper. He was about to go to meeting so I couldn't elaborate. Whew! What a day.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Overworked Block Study 10/10/10

Okay, so I decided to keep working on this study because yesterday it was too hot. Well, it was hotter today. I waited patiently for the shadows to be correct and just couldn't stand the heat. DONE and still unfinished.

A Studio Tour

Today, while I am waiting for the sun to hit my color blocks just right, I decided to give a studio tour of where I paint. You can see my easel, my block study setup and my studies drying in the sun.
And that concludes the end of my tour. Thank you!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Unfinished Block Color Study 10/09/10

It was very warm today and I just couldn't stand the heat. This is my unfinished block color study. The sweat was dripping down my arm as I painted. Hot, hot, hot.
So, I will get up in the morning and fix my lines and wait for noon to complete this study.
In the future, I will set up two different block studies and have work on them over a course of two days.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Block Study 10/08/2010

Here is today's block study.I did a very nice initial drawing and didn't follow through with my angles on this drawing. Then the yellow shadow became an obsession. I don't like the color but that is what I saw.
The darkest color was the background. The lightest was the table cloth. The dullest was that yellow shadow. The brightest was yellow block in light. The warmest was the yellow block compared to everything. The red was a cool red. The white was warm and the shadow was a warm blue. The next darkest was that yellow shadow. The next darkest was the red shadow. The table cloth shadow was darker than the white shadow sides.
Warm, cool, dark, light, bright and dull. All are being compare while I painted. Then I was interrupted for an hour and the shadow changed, as did the color.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Color Class Study - it's dull

This is the beginning of a stage 3 painting from Susan Sarback's class. The whole setup has dull objects and very interesting to paint. I painted the table cloth and it needed to be dulled down at stage 3 because the focal point will be the flower. Interesting.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Here is yesterday's blocks study - 10/05/10

I found a software I can use to post my pictures. My husband suggested it and I was too frustrated to look at it yesterday. I am calmer today. REEEEEE-LAAAAAAX.
Here is yesterday's block study. I learned to like it today.

Block Study 10/06/10

I worked on a yellow, green and orange block study today. I worked a long time getting the dulls right. It was difficult to get the yellow dull and then the orange shadow dull. I haven't had that problem before but I wasn't pushing it as dull as I did in this study.
It was full sun with a few clouds passing over. I didn't have to wait long. Lastly, I had to correct my drawing a few times.
Before painting this study, I identified my darkest dark and my light. I saw my brightest was the orange and the lightest was my table top. My dullest was my yellow and my orange shadow. The orange shadow was duller and darker than the yellow shadow. The darkest was the side shadow of the green block.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New laptops and Trial Versions

I am a ubuntu user but recently, I broke down and bought a new laptop. I haven't figured out yet how to install my ubuntu on it. I like ubuntu's software and it's free. I have made several attempts to have a dual boot. In the meantime, my trial version of a Microsoft product that I assumed came with my laptop has expired. Oh, well. I have my MS software that I can load where I own the license. In the meantime, I won't post pictures...
but I did work on a daily block study. This time before jumping into the painting, I identified the darkest, the dullest and the lightest. Then I looked for the brightest, the warmest and coolest. I continued the comparison throughout the painting. It was a good study.
I am pleased with the analytical process.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Color - Holy Moly

I went to class and continued with a new color study. Brighter, duller, warmer, cooler, darker or lighter. This is what is being put in my head as I paint. I decided you have to be very organized and treat it like puzzle pieces. How do each of the colors compare? Are they lighter or darker? Are they duller or brighter? Are they warmer or duller? This is what we are trained to do in the class and it may seem simple but it isn't...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Block Study - 10/03/2010

This block study was difficult because it was cloudy and sunny throughout the 3.5 hours I painted it. I had to wait for the sun to come back, the shadows and color changed, so I tried to rush it.
The white is over worked but the rest seems to hold it together.
I left the setup on my patio so I could make corrections tomorrow.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Block Study - 10/02/2010

Here is my block study for today. I setup two green blocks, a red block and a yellow orange block. I had difficulty painting the two greens. One was a hunter green and the other a lime green. They became too similar in the study. The yellow orange block, I believe, is not dull enough. I was too involved with the green to stop and see where my dulls were. I need to remember to look at my dulls and brights.
I did compare the colors in the study but not consistently.
Warms and cools, brights and dulls, bright and dark. I need to remember to compare of them and how they related to each other.
I did realize, quickly, that my background color and the yellow orange block were too similar. That was good.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Block Study

Here is my block study of a white block, green block and blue block. I put an orange on top.
This was done quickly in the morning sun. I put pure yellow on the warm side of the white block then added a pink and white mixture to it.
I think this is good study.