Dreams of Inspiration – The Work in Progress – Part 1

I’m not even sure where to start with this, or where I’m going, and I’m not done yet.  The simplest version is, I had an idea for a painting.  It came into my mind complete, and gorgeous, and I had no idea how to do it.  It was outside my realm of experience except for the fact that I’ve used oils, acrylics, paintbrushes, and canvas.

It is a portrait of Scott, with a wildly colorful background, surrounded by these bubbles of inspiration.  My first thought was, I can’t do that, I have no idea how!  My next thought was that I could figure it out and that this was an important painting to do.  For all the times I’ve told the muses, “later,” it was time to act upon it now.  That was a couple of weeks ago.  The first half of the week I researched how to create cells with acrylic paints.  Then my room became a studio in earnest as I began to experiment with what I had learned.  Everything is right there in Youtube videos, but not everything is in the same video.  I had a blast!  I started with small canvases, different color schemes, different thicknesses of paint, different strengths of alcohol, and differing amounts of water.  I could have viewed this entire process as a failure because the first few days I worked with this technique, I didn’t get the colors or the results I needed. Finally, I started to get the cells that I wanted to move forward with the larger canvas.

Then, I began building up the colors that I wanted.  I discovered how to make different types of cells with alcohol.  I was finally on the right path!

This continues to be an eye-opening experience.  I don’t know what I’m doing next until I get to that point.  I’m figuring it out as I go along.  I’m Trusting the Process.

Back to School – Four Books That Will Improve Your Painting

Art History, a Heavy Subject

Ed gave us a list of books to use as references in a handout that he gave to us.  I checked Amazon, and found all four of them used.  With shipping, the cost is still unbelievably low, right around $30!

I was excited to get three out of four of them in hardcover (I really love books) but then I tried picking them up.  The photo opposite is the result.  Makes me think I’m back in college!  The four of them together weigh 13 pounds!

Finally, I am studying art history in a way that makes sense to me.  Find what I like, what is similar to what I want to create in style, degree of realism, or whatever, and study how it was painted.  Here is one of my favorite paintings, Scene from Thanatopsis by Asher Brown Durand (1796 – 1886).

Scene from Thanatopsis 39.5 x 61 Inches

Durand was an American romantic landscape painter, and a member of the Hudson River School.  His paintings evoke the emotions of mystery, wildness and grandeur that were a staple of the breathtaking landscapes in the 1800s which were almost completely devoid of people, something rarely seen today.  It is a fabulous painting, and my goal is to paint like this!

This painting is described in “What is Art, an Introduction to Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture” by John Canaday.

I grew up on fantasy artwork; primarily the works of the brothers Hildebrandt and Boris Vallejo.  Hildebrandts’ works exhibit many similarities with painters from the romantic period.
Here’s an example, Old Man Willow by Greg and Tim Hildebrandt:

Many more of their paintings can be viewed here.

The other three books shown above are:

Drawing Lessons From the Great Masters by Robert Beverly Hale

A Treasury of Impressionism by Nathaniel Harris

Techniques of the World’s Great Painters edited by Waldemar Januszczak

I’ll talk about them in a different post.  It’s time for me to get painting!

Megan