Archive for the 'Composition' Category
October 25th, 2011 by Donald Smith
I had the opportunity to take my family to a corn maze over the weekend. I had worked hard that morning and was tired, so I found a nice shady spot and painted an interesting barn. I sat there looking at the scene before me for a while, looking for a good composition, and thinking of how I would paint this or that. What items I wanted to include and leave out. using my view finders to block out most of the scene. Finally I found my “Master Piece” LOL. I did a quick notan, that I liked, It was just a 2 value notan. I quickly drew my outline on the 8×10″ panel and proceeded to paint. The painting was coming along nicely…. until I came to the barn. In Barry Jon Raybold’s “Art Academy Masters Course” I learned that before painting you should pick THREE words to discribe what your painting. That way you don’t forget and you get focused. The 3 words I should have chosen are “Lights and Shadows.” I really liked the notan I did, the diagonal way the darks of the barn splashed across the light yellow ochre corn field behind it, and the pretty blue sky. This barn was missing the South wall, it was open all along it. Being able to see inside the barn, you could see all the structure, and stuff being stored in the barn. That was a LOT of stuff. After sitting there painting for 2 hours I still wasn’t through, but my family was, so I had to abandon my attempt and go home. I didn’t get the painting finished because I got hung up in the barn, painting all the different values of the barn wood, some were in dark shadow, some in sun, some had reflected lights, then there was the hay, and the body of an old jeep. Just the support structure was so intricate, like a spider web mostly in shadow and part in light.
So, I learned something from this little adventure. When painting plein air, choose subjects that don’t have a LOT of detail. Actually, you can paint something with a lot of detail, you just have to ignore it, and focus on the shapes, values and colors, then suggest the details. I got bogged down trying to get each board perfect, in the right place and the right color / value.
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Have a great day,
December 24th, 2009 by Donald Smith
In 2007 when my wife and I started the adoption process for our daughter, I wrote a children’s book. Lately I’ve been thinking it would be great fun to push myself as and artist, and to gry by trying to illustrate this book. I started a thread in the Illustration forum of Wetcanvas asking for recommended reading. One person said that illustrating isn’t much different than painting fine art. He maybe right. I do not know since I’ve never illustrated anything before. He gave a very convincing argument. Taking his words as words of encouragement, and buying the two books that have been recommended, I will attempt to illustrate my book.
To be honest and open up my most inner self, I”m more than a little nervous. I don’t like failure, and the good Lord knows I’ve had a lot of that in my life. But I’ve learned that failure can be twisted into success. Okay that may not have worked like I wanted, but I can learn from it and now I know something that didn’t work, so I’ll try again. This attitude has helped a lot with painting. I learn from painting bad paintings, and they become exercises so it’s OKAY if they aren’t master pieces. So it will be with my illustrations.
To me there is a big difference between Fine Art and Illustration. Fine Art is a painting where I paint what inspires me. My story is to show you, through paint and canvas, what I find beautiful. If you see it and like it great, if you buy it and hang it on your wall, that is icing on the cake. I love it when people love my art enough to want to see it every day and hang it on their walls, in the past, the money just helps to buy more art supplies, but now it is going towards the adoption of another daughter. Illustration on the other hand requires that either the painting support the story, or that the painting shows a portion of the story. The demands are higher on the artist to create a painting that does more than just shows what inspired him or her. The concept and color scheme, value plan, composition and other parts of the painting must be given more thought.
In reading to my daughter, and son before that, I’ve seen some beautiful illustrations, and been totally amazed at some of the art work found in children’s books. My fear is I’m not up to the task I’ve set before me. First of all, I’m horrible at painting people. So, it was a surprise when a fiend gave me not one but two books on painting people for Christmas, THANK YOU DAVID T.. God knew I was going to need them. So, not only have I set a goal of illustrating my book, but learning to paint people. The hardest task for me will be to learn to draw the same person from different angles and still have it look like that person. This is where I admire my son’s artistic skills. But then he has been an artist his whole life, and studied, drawn, and spent many hours drawing people, while I’m just getting started.
Well, it is time for me to go to work and earn some money to support my art habbit…
Have fun painting!
October 20th, 2009 by Donald Smith
Barry Jon Raybould says ‘he spends 90% of his time doing painting exercises, and 10% on his master pieces.” Other artists I’ve read about say, “If a painting turns out to be a flop, it’s an exercise, if it turns out great, then it’s a master piece.” It doesn’t matter which way you approach art, the important thing is that you must practice and paint exercises if you want to improve. Art is HUGE! There are so many different aspects to it to master, a person could live as long as Adam or Methusala and never master every aspect of painting. Yet artists do manage to master some areas and produce the occasional master pieces. Each artists must decide for them self what area they wish to improve. The areas they chose effect their style, and helps with their artist’s voice.
With improving my artistic skills in mind, I’m going to work on a series of paintings. I did something similar with the thread “Different Starts,” where I took the same photo and used different methods to start the painting. The difference is, with this series, I plan on using the same outline drawing, and see how many different styles I can paint it in. Examples of styles I will use are:
- High Key,
- Low Key,
- Middle Key,
- a night scene,
- early morning,
- mid day,
- late evening,
- just for fun I’m going to throw in a Van Gogh style,
- or try some pointelist,
and I may think up a few more to try along the way.
You’re welcome to join in the fun, here is how I plan to get started.
- Draw several outline composition with 7 or 8 shapes, and pick the one I find most interesting.
- Use carbon paper and transfer it to each canvas.
- This will be a great time to experiment with different palettes as well, limited using Cad. Yel. Lt, Ultra M. Blue, Cad Red Lt, and White, I can throw in a fall scene using earth tones like Yellow Ochre, Indian Red, Ultra M Blue, and White. Another palette I’ve been wanting to experiment with is the limited palette with a warm and cool gray added.
- The number one thing I want to do is HAVE FUN PAINTING! The second thing, is to learn.
I’ll be posting my finished paintings on my blog for your enjoyment. I do have to finish my current painting before I begin this series of paintings. In the mean time, grab your easel and paints, and be adventuresome, and go out side and try a plein air. It can be addictive, I know I’ve been missing it with all these fall colors, I’ve been longing to be outside painting.
Until next time!
July 9th, 2009 by Donald Smith
[book id='' /]I was thinking about my last post, and was looking through my reference library and I came across this photo of a sunrise.
So I thought it would make the subject of a painting, and I could use it as an example for the Notan, and Outline Sketch, and value study.
Check back soon and watch the progress!
PS: Some of you may be wondering what happened to the buffalo. Well, I got to looking at the photo, it was taken at noon (boring light), on a cloudy day (even more boring light), a side view, so it was only 2 dimentions, and I thought I could come up with a better example to paint.