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

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.

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!

Dreaming of Home Complete!

Dreaming of Home, oil on canvas 24″ x 30″

 

This is my first painting from working under the tutelage of Rose Adare.  I have learned so much, and I have so far to go!  There is so much I love about this painting.  Papa goose looks toward Maui, as though he longs to go home.  Mama is keeping an eye on us, protective of her goslings, and the two babies mirror their parent’s poses as children do.  The name of the painting came to me long before the mountains appeared in the background.  I didn’t know why, but that was the name of this painting, Dreaming of Home.

Finish or Not?

The first caveat is, paintings are never done. Every painting I’ve “finished” could have used more work in my opinion.  A week, a month, or a year later, I’ll figure out how to fix something that was nagging me, or finally understand what bothered me about a painting, and I have to let it go.  Every painting I have finished that I didn’t like, has found a buyer, and usually quicker than I ever imagined.  There is a serious lesson in that statement.  Just because I’m not happy with it, doesn’t mean someone else won’t fall in love with it.  I’ve heard about artists destroying paintings they have done that they didn’t like. They didn’t want it to be part of their legacy, because it wasn’t good enough. So I did that, with one painting that I never even finished, and I still regret it.

The way I see it, all the paintings I’ve done helped me to develop into the artist I am today.  I destroyed one thing so far, and it was years later that I wish I hadn’t. Looking at that painting in progress taught me about mass in painting, and the folly of painting what you think is there. There may be times when you want to do that, don’t get me wrong, that’s about style, and about a conscious choice in breaking “the rules”.   However, when it is an isolated component of the painting, (and not what you intended) then it doesn’t work.

 

I fell in love with the stonework in this wall, and spent lavish care on each rock. Only when I stepped back after hours of work, did I realize that the entire wall didn’t fit in the painting. I had outlined each stone in black.  Now, I know I should have given it a chance rather than seeing it as a failure. Now I look at this and I see multiple ways I could have finished this painting and made it work, so much so that I’m thinking of painting this again.  This is a rock wall in Kainaliu that was destroyed during an earthquake.

How did I get where I am today with my artwork?  Each painting teaches me something.  Every painting is a success because any painting I do propels me forward in my craft.  The more painting I do, the better craftsman I become.  I would be the last to put myself on a pedestal.  I don’t belong there, any more than anyone else.  I’m mostly self-taught, and these paintings are all a record of my journey.  This is why I still have my flickr site.  It keeps me humble!  Almost everything I have ever done since I started painting is on that site, and as I find missing pieces, I add them.  No, flickr doesn’t go back to my childhood, just to when I began my art journey.

Dreaming of Home

As I work on paintings, they get working titles.  This gives me something to file them under besides “current painting”.  Sometimes the titles stick, and sometimes they don’t.  This painting is about a family of Nene with the father looking out to sea while the mother keeps an eye on the observer.  The babies mimic their parents’ poses.  I’m still roughing in the basic colors of the painting, so please be patient with me.

Often I combine elements of different photographs to create the vision I’m looking for.

Happy Birthday to my Sister!

My sister is 5 years older than I am.  She bore the brunt of my machinations through middle school.  She bought a LOT of my clothes once she started working.  She has always been there for me when I needed her.  She more than anyone else has inherited little bits of me through the years.  When I went through a stained-glass stage, I gave her a box.  When I did pottery, she received a bowl.  When I began painting, she received one of my first.

It is one of my first paintings so it was just on a piece of canvas.  I didn’t think I was good enough to use a stretched canvas.  Its still one of my favorites, as is she.

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.

Kilauea- Work in Progress

I have 3 paintings that are in progress right now, and only time to photograph one of them this morning before I head to the bakery.

This is Kilauea, and I’m getting close. I still have to add features to the sky (read clouds) and now is the time to tweak what I need to tweak. As part of that, here is the painting in color, and another copy as a tonal picture:

My goal in looking at the black and white picture is to not be distracted by the color. Does the painting flow? Is there enough contrast to be interesting?

Nico DiMattia Photoshop Speed Painter

I found this photoshop artist as I wandered through the internet. He films what he calls 5-minute speed paintings and they are amazing.

http://nicodimattia.com/