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 so one of my first paintings that it was 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/

Booster Shot

I am just back from a 2-day painting workshop with Ed Kayton.   Ed has been painting for 28 years now, and for many of those years he worked in the advertising field.  He is mainly self-taught at this point although he studied art in college.  Apparently at that point in time, they didn’t teach what he wanted to learn which is realism.  So, he studied, and still studies the old masters to understand how they painted the incredible pieces of art that they did, and incorporates that knowledge into his own painting.  Now, he takes some of his time to pass on what he has learned about art, and about painting.  So, if you are in the neighborhood and are serious about painting, this is the opportunity of a career.

I am focused on becoming the best painter I can possibly be.  I came to painting later, having started just over 4 years ago and I have a lot of catching up to do.   I don’t kick myself about that any longer.  I began painting when I was ready to do so, apparently I had some lessons to learn first.  It’s called life.  I’m painting now, (oh boy am I painting!) and the perfect teacher presented himself at the right time.  What I can tell you is that I don’t take it for granted.  Not one little bit.  Painting is what I love, and I’m here to stay!

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

A Slight Change in Direction

I began painting with Oils.  I had an opportunity to take a class with Ed Kayton.  I planned to use Golden’s Open Acrylics with the class, and then water-based oils (which smelled horrible) and Ed sat me down with his paints and said, “do it!”  What a revolution.

Oils are fantastic!  Since that class, I haven’t touched my acrylics!  Here’s the result of those two days I spent in a workshop with him.