Monthly Archives: October 2011

Blob People

I’ve had the opportunity to once again visit the Blob People. This really is a wonderful exercise.  It’s also a very valuable exercise because at least in part you need to visualize effective negative shapes.

I really like the movement of the woman on the left and the little drama between the faces of the two main people.

Dynamic Figures In Watercolour

This is an image by David Shelvino.  I just discovered him in Artist’s Magazine. He seems to do a lot of interesting figures situated in front of urban landscapes.  He is a great figure drawer and creates very interesting and effective backgrounds that give his figures an unusual context.

I used this image to practice the Dynamic Figure Drawing method that we’ve been studying in my drawing class and then to render it in a watercolour style.  The original image was done in oil.

The style of watercolour painting that I’m using in this image is quite new for me and I’m loving it.  I’m finally beginning to capture images the way I’ve always wanted to.

On a technical note, because the figure is generally a warm shape I’ve created shadows that are cool and I think that makes them more believable.

Sunflowers Again

This is a new version of my sunflower image.  This time it was completely directed by my own colour scheme.  I broke the painting process into 4 separate stages.  Between each of these stages I completely dried the painting.  Even though I took the time to dry each of these stages I worked very quickly, moving from stage to stage.  For me at least I find that working quickly is a definite advantage because it forces me to make decisions and act on them immediately.  If left to my own devices I have a tendency to want to wait a long time before applying the next wash of colour.  The more I can get away from my ‘thinking about the painting’ and the more I can just apply paint the more I can just express myself, be in the moment and all that stuff.

Negative Space

The ability to see negative space ie the space around an object is an essential skill for an artist. At first it’s quite a challenge to see it because we are so trained to see the object and all the space around an object just becomes the other, less important stuff.   But it’s this ‘other stuff’ that turns our object into a composition.

This image is an exercise to illustrate the idea of negative space painting.  The first stage is to colour the entire image with a light value leaving the 2 main trees as white paper.  When this is dry I used a second wash of the a very similar value and colour to the first wash and painted around various shapes to reveal a second level of trees.  I carried on through 4 washes, each one a little stronger in value than the previous one,  to get a pleasing arrangement of trees.  After the painting was finished and dry I decided to add 2 broad diagonal washes across the entire surface to create a sense of light penetrating the forest.

Painting Dynamic Figures

For me ultimately the goal of learning to draw figures the way we have practiced it in the Dynamic Figure Drawing class is to paint them.  This is a quick attempt to add colour to one of the images we practiced this week.  This figure is about 6″ high and that is pretty small to get in and add detail but the basic procedure is quite exciting.  Making the figures larger will make the painting process more practical.  I look forward to continuing with this approach.  Another interesting aspect of doing these paintings is having the freedom (and pressure) of creating an interesting and relevant background.

Negative Space & Sunflowers

This image is for a lesson with my Friday night watercolour class.  It’s a lesson in painting negative space.  The sunflowers were all painted using a variety of light yellow, orange and red washes.  Then in subsequent washes I added the darks, painting around the sunflowers and revealing various leaves, stems etc by painting around them.  It’s a very liberating procedure for painting.  The biggest challenge in painting negative spaces is being able to visualize them and it takes a couple of attempts to get a handle on it but the benefits of painting this way are definitely worth it.

Watercolour Class

This is the image I did as a demo for my Friday Night Watercolour Class.  It was based on an image by John Lovett, another exciting watercolour painter from Australia.  In this class we were looking at the importance of having a clear ‘centre of interest’ in the painting.  We analyzed the many techniques Lovett used to guide the viewer’s eye to the buildings which are the centre of interest.  We began this painting with the centre of interest ie we started with the bright reds and the whites and then painted the mid ground hill and then moved back to the distant mountains.

Dynamic Figures

This beautiful image is Edgar Degas. Preparing this image for class has given me a whole new appreciation for  Degas.  He has captured special moments in time and he has rendered them with spectacular technique.

I did this on hot press watercolour paper.  Before starting the pencil work I laid in a light value blue-green wash.  I let that wash dry and then did the drawing.  The brightest whites were done using white chalk.

It was a real pleasure to do this image.

Plein Air Ribbon Creek

This is an image I sketched on our hike last weekend at Ribbon Creek.  I added the colour a couple of days later.  What I found most interesting in this process was creating the value pattern of the scene when I did the sketch.  That made the adding of colour much easier.  The value pattern in this painting is quite different than the value pattern of the actual scene.  I took a photo of the scene and the values are distributed much more evenly across all elements of the image.  I consciously tried to create a value pattern in my sketch that emphasized my centre of interest.  I know that that is the job of an artist, to take the elements of the actual scene and to arrange them into a good painting. I know that but I’m starting to not only understand it but also to use it.