Week 13 - Off to a Creative Start
I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.
Where does one start, what's the motivating factor that takes an image/photo to a finished painting?
When I'm painting in the studio, I work from my own photos. I start by scrolling through until one "grabs" my attention and imagination. I'm not a representational painter, and I enjoy a more impressionistic approach, finding a mood, or story, rather than being a slave to how it "really is".
One amazing app I use is See Value, and that's exactly what it does, it simplifies the image into value ranges from 2-4. The app allows me to see value shapes and patterns. For just a couple of bucks, this app is dyno-mite!
Simplify, simplify, simplify. What can I take out, what should I leave in? The telephone pole was an easy out, I decided to remove the hut as well, I didn't want the painting to be too "twee".
When applying a background wash over my board or canvas, I always tend to go towards warmer colours. Variations of oranges, golds, or pinks, I find these colours help pop the neutrals and cooler colours.
The colour palette.
Deciding the colour palette of a painting is one of the most important decisions, along with composition and value, that an artist can make in the development of their work. Colour choices help determine mood, and temperature. For this painting, I decided to go with a limited palette of Pyrrole Orange, Yellow Oxide, Ultramarine Blue, plus white and black. Working with a limited palette will help harmonise the work.
The range of colour in a limited palette, is anything but limited.
Let go of the photographic image, expand creative instinct.
Ask the Artists
Brian Buckrell: I spend time planning - using digital software, transferring to canvas using water soluble pencil, then confirming with acrylic marker, then boldly and loosely applying transparent colours with a large brush. Instagram link.
Wendy Birmingham: I start a painting by gridding out my panel. I then block everything in using full colour oil paint. I usually work from top to bottom. Instagram link.
Sheila Davis: Like a watercolour! Lots of wet drippy paint splashes of colour to give a sense of movement and light. The images is carved out with a shaper and opaque marks made in layers. Instagram link.
Jen Lawton: I draw a contour outline image on a transparency sheet, and use an old enlarger to blow up the image to the size of canvas I have chosen. Tracing the contour outline on the canvas with a watercolour pencil, I then have a “map” of my planned image. I work at the painting like a puzzle, section by section. But often I get involved in one colour or texture, and bounce around the canvas trying to find more of the same areas to paint. This gets confusing on particularly large and detailed drawings, and I have had to adapt if I make a mistake. None of my paintings are exact photocopies as a result! Instagram link.
Aili Kurtis: Using the photo as reference, I make a B/W sketch on a scrap of paper that simplifies the image into just a few lines. What I am looking for is the underlying abstraction of the scene as well as a rhythm or pattern that moves the eye around the composition. I also do a quick B/W value study (notan). Then I stain the canvas red or orange and do a light charcoal drawing based on my sketches. I use purple or blue to paint over the charcoal and then use a rag to wipe away the excess charcoal. I bock in the image loosely on the canvas and put a dab of my darkest dark and lightest light so that I can keep in mind the range of values needed. Instagram link.
Louise Hicks: Varies, but I almost always tone the canvas/board and often in acrylic. Instagram link.
So get started! Try out some of the suggestions from these amazing artists. And don't forget to give yourself permission to show everyone your vision, your interpretation of the world around you.
Until next week...