Kipaipai Painting Class has Begun!

Finally, the painting class portion of the Kipaipai Atelier has begun! I’ve waited months for this and I’m so excited. During the first class, I was bouncing up and down in my chair. Overachiever that I am, about a month ago, I started painting color charts, I read the first three chapters, and I also did some value scales.

For those of you who don’t know, I live in the Big Island of Hawaii in the middle of a large body of water called the Pacific Ocean. I despaired at finding quality in-person art instruction until I found Rose. I’m mostly self-taught with a few workshops thrown in here and there. Having this opportunity is an amazing thing, and I plan to get as much out of it as I possibly can! I also believe that talking about it here will help cement it into my brain and perhaps get you guys to ask question as well!

For our first class, Rose went over a value poster study. This is a basic tool wherein you choose a simple composition and break it down into 4 values. Ivory Black, Titanium White, a light grey and a darker grey. This isn’t something to agonize and spend hours doing. This is meant to be quick, and to make you look and choose, and to see the larger shapes. In the book, Lessons in Classical Painting by Juliette Aristides, Juliette suggests cutting the four values out of cardboard and putting them together. Rose had us paint our value study instead (since this is a painting class).

Four-value study based on Winslow Homer image

Now, I could take hours on this, and I could add many more values to this composition, however, I was only allowed to use 4, and in a limited amount of time. This exercise forced me to do many things:
– See the shapes of the values
– See the paths as they move through the composition
– Understand how to consolidate values into larger masses
– By limiting choices, the brain is forced to look for solutions, and that means looking at things more carefully.
– By limiting the amount of time to work on this, it forced us to make decisions and just do it.

As part of our homework, we needed to create 7 and 9 step value scales using Titanium White and Ivory Black. Probably because of previous practice, I found the 9-step scale easier to do. Will I ever use a 9-step grey-scale? I don’t know. What I will use is the ability I’m developing to create tints of colors, because painting this scale shows me how saturated with pigment each paint is. That information will prove invaluable as I move forward and start working with color in this class.

7 and 9-step value scales in Ivory Black and Titanium White

#bigislandartist #hawaiianart #hawaiislocalbuzz #paintingsbymegan

Almost There

I’m so close.  I’m so close I’ve actually signed the paintings.  I still can’t let them go.  There was something about the third painting that just wasn’t quite right yet, and I didn’t know what it was.

This month, my focus, in general, has been on asking the right questions.  It’s easy to ask something silly like, “Why do I always do this?” to which your brain will answer, “because you’re a schmuck!”  It takes thought to ask the right questions, and the right questions are the ones that propel you forward in whatever you are doing.  The movie I Robot was all about asking the right questions.  Here was my dilemma.  I have this set of paintings.  They look awesome.  However, the large one just isn’t up to the level of the other two.  I looked at them on my phone.  I turned them upside down.  I went outside and looked at them through the window.  I turned the easel around and didn’t look at them at all for days.  I’ve been stewing in my own juices wondering what I’m missing.  Yes, I’m stubborn.  I wanted to figure it out for myself!  Since my theme this month is about asking the right questions, the answer was, obviously, that I was asking the wrong ones!

How can I look at this differently?  Since I’m focusing mostly on a drawing class right now, I decided to take my photograph and convert it to black and white to see what that showed me.  The subtlety of shading is far more pronounced in a black and white picture because the distraction of color has been removed.  Look what I found:

 

See how the smaller two paintings jump off the canvas?  The third one in comparison looks flat.  It is still gorgeous, it just isn’t there yet.  This is what was missing, the delicate shading that brings the other two to life.  Soon… I’m almost there!

Seahorses on the Way

I’m sorry for the delay in posting.  I have been focusing on finally getting the website up and running.

Currently, I am working on a triptych of seahorses.  Two paintings I have done at the same time, but three is a new thing for me.  This is only the first layer, and my goal is to have each of these paintings stand on their own or as a part of the set.  I’m “deep in the uglies” as I like to call it, and I can see glimmers of where this will go when I’m done.  The theory is, by working on all three paintings at the same time, I can keep the style the same throughout.  If I completed one painting at a time, it is likely that my style or choice of painting methods would change, and end up not working as well together.

I have been working on these at my weekly “paint at the farm” events on Tuesdays.  Names for the paintings haven’t come to me yet.  They will as the personality develops.

Thank you for looking!

Glass Palettes

There is a lot of talk lately about using “neutral” palettes to mix paint, that somehow it helps you get your colors closer to what you want them to be.  Most of us start with a white palette to mix our paints on. I tried something different. Since I was looking for specific colors to make my fish become part of the background of the painting, I printed out a copy of the picture I was using for the images and put it behind my glass palette. By the way, I always use a piece of glass for my palette, that way I can just scrape it clean with a razor blade.

This is a clear glass palette with a sheet of white paper underneath.

Color is relative. The mixed yellows and greens would look normal on a white background, but when you put the blue background behind them they become glaringly bright. The yellow is out of place, and the green becomes yellow!

This is what the finished area looks like in relation to the rest of the painting. The fish become a small highlight in the background rather than a major feature like the main whale.

Moorish Idols have both yellow and white in the lighter colored stripes. Underwater, the white disappears in blues and greens.

If you look at the white palette, that blue color is an attempt at what would be “white” under water and a longer way away. When you look at the same color on top of the photograph, it is almost a perfect match for “white”! For the record, white, is almost never white. In fact, all colors are relative to the colors they are beside.

Finally, here’s a picture of some of the fish I finally painted: As crazy as it seems, they may still be too bright. I’ll have to wait until I add more to make that determination.