Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Charles Reid on Planning Lost and Found Edges

by Charles Reid

For those joining me on the contour line and color adventure on Tuesday afternoons this January and February, here's a sneak peek at where we are headed.  This PDF courtesy of www.artistsnetwork.com covers Charles Reid's approach to lost and found edges.  We'll be talking about this!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Late Renoir and American Painting Exhibits at LACMA

Two exhibits at LACMA (LA County Museum of Art) February 28th through May 9th, 2010.

Renoir in the 20th Century

February 14–May 9, 2010

Renoir in the 20th Century focuses on the last three decades of Renoir’s career, when, following his rupture with impressionism, he turned to an art that was decorative, classical, and informed by a highly personal interpretation of the Great Tradition. Renoir’s paintings from this period, which have never been studied and shown as such, are often misunderstood as they do not fit comfortably into the history of high modernism. This exhibition is the first monographic study dedicated to Renoir since the comprehensive retrospective of 1985 at the Galeries nationales du Grand Palais in Paris, and the first one ever mounted by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Offering an unprecedented look at Renoir through the lens of modernism, the exhibition bridges the divide that exists in many people’s minds between art of the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries

American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765–1915

February 28–May 23, 2010

From the colonial period to the present, Americans have been inventing characters and plots, settings and situations to give meaning to our everyday lives. American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765-1915includes seventy-five paintings, from before the Revolution to the start of World War I, that tell these stories in scenes of family life and courting, work and leisure, comic mishaps and disasters. These daily experiences were all subject to the artist’s searching and revealing eye and many of the works on view are famous images known to almost every American. Major artists such as Thomas Eakins and Winslow Homer, John Singleton Copley and George Caleb Bingham, John Singer Sargent and Mary Cassatt, are included in this important survey, the first of its kind in over thirty years.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Painting Students Get Some Ink!

I had to opportunity to speak with Carl Love at the TVAL Open House and I enjoyed the conversation very much. The gallery is featured in his column in the Press-Enterprise.  We greatly appreciate the coverage.  Thank you, Carl. Let's get out and paint Temecula! 

"Local Artists Paint Bright Future"
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Special to the Press-Enterprise

'Are you related to Ralph Love?"

It's a question I hadn't heard in at least five years, but I heard it twice in one night on Saturday. It must have meant I was around artists, a rare treat in these parts.

Love -- him, not me -- was Temecula's most famous artist. There is the Ralph Love Plein Air Festival held in Old Town Temecula, but artists here are focusing on the Temecula Valley Art League's open house for its gallery at 41789 Nicole Lane.

Eighteen league members have about 100 paintings on display on the walls of the front room. It's one of a few local galleries, a sad commentary for an area that's become so urban.

Temecula fancies itself as a destination with its Wine Country, Old Town and balloon festival. Yet our shortage of galleries is not what you'd expect from a place that's trying to be sophisticated.

Doing its part to change that is the Art League, founded as a nonprofit in 1977 by Mary Davis, who was there Saturday.

This is the first time the group has had a permanent home, about 1,600 square feet to hold its monthly meetings, display art, conduct classes, host shows, and serve as a gathering place for artists.

One art teacher, Mary Mulvihill, said four of her students -- Adria Di Maria, Jennifer Morlan, June Kakowski and Tim Russell -- have work displayed here.

"There is something exciting about being in a gallery," she says.

Works in the front room included lots of flowers, animals, a few western scenes and some snow and beach paintings. Yet it was hard to find anything local from our Wine Country, Old Town, balloon festival, agriculture heritage and trademark subdivisions.

"We are lagging" in paintings of local scenes, Mulvihill says. So much so that Japanese tourists who visited recently had to be referred to Temecula City Hall, where works featuring local scenes can be found.

"If anybody is going to do it (create art of local things), we're going to do it," Mulvihill says.

Nobody knows better than Davis, an artist who won the community citizen of the year award in 1972. She also took lessons from Love, who she says worked in a room that was all black. An ordained minister, she said at times he also gave sermons while painting. You know artists; they can have their quirks.

"He was very religious, very quiet," she says. "What he said was the word."

Love, who owned a studio called the Art Shack, sold paintings for a fundraiser to get the art league up and running. She bought some paintings and is willing to display them at the new gallery.

"They are kind of priceless," she says.

No doubt he would have enjoyed the new space, which has almost tripled the Art League's membership since it opened. Membership is $30 a year and President Carol Landry, at 951-303-8100, has more information.

Landry has big plans for the Art League's new space, staffed by volunteers. Art walks and juried shows are held every month. A western wildlife art show is planned in May.

Bea Taylor is one local artist thrilled to have a spot to display her work.

"After 32 years we finally have a permanent place to show our art," she says. "It's wonderful that I can share my work."

Besides her art in the front room, Taylor also has her paintings displayed in the back rooms, including two in the restroom.

"I don't mind," she says happily.

When it comes to a permanent place to show their work after all these years of wandering, local artists aren't about to be picky.

Reach Carl Love at carllove4@yahoo.com.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Reference Material for Drawing the Head

I recommend the following books for study of the head:

"Drawing: The Head", by Andrew Loomis, covers the proportion of the head for different ages, the placement of the features, how to visualize the head in planes and the simple bone structure of the head and neck. $8.95

"The Human Figure", by John Vanderpoel focuses on the features of the face as shapes of light and shadow.  It is text dense and not an easy read, but very worth the effort.  The margin drawings illustrate the text description of the planes and muscles of each feature from different angles.  I recommend reading the text and copying the margin illustration in your sketchbook. $6.95

"The Artist's Complete Guide to Drawing the Head" by William Maughan is excellent for both drawers and painters.  It covers line versus value, form and cast shadows, negative shapes, the two masses of light and shadow, perspective in the head, proportion and anatomy of the features.  All of the drawings are in white and sanguine pastel pencil, but the information and approach applies to all media. $16.50 (Amazon discount price)

Andrew Loomis

John Vanderpoel

William Maughan

Thursday, December 3, 2009

December Syllabus Wednesday Painting Class - Colored Blocks

The syllabus for December is to continue ... most of you are working on painting projects of your own choice.  However, I will be setting the colored block still lifes up for the month and I highly recommend them to everyone who has not done them.  You will learn more about color from this than you ever can painting from a photograph.  If you asked my advice, it would be to do these. You need  9 x 12" or 11 x 14" canvas panels for them.  I will set a different one up each week.  Do one, do them all.  One week per ... don't labor over these.  Observe color spot; paint color spot.  It's an exercise.

There are several steps to the process.

1.  Quickly block-in the blocks on your canvas.  Draw them as close to life size as possible.
2.  Quickly make a single choice (or color spot) for each the side of each block and the background adjacent to it.  
3.  Cover the canvas before you go back and assess your choices or make any changes.  
4.  As you work compare each color spot to the one next to it by running through the three properties of color.  Is it warmer/cooler, brighter/duller, lighter/darker than the spot next to it?  Relate.  
5.  Don't jump all over the canvas.  Relate each spot to the adjacent spot.
6.  As you compare on your second/third/fourth pass at the canvas, make any adjustment you see.  Trust your eye, not your brain.  If the gray cloth looks alizarin-ish, add alizarin. 

Keep in mind two types of comparisons you are making.
1.  Compare the adjacent sides of a color block in the set-up.  Then make the same comparison in your painting.  So, in the set-up, compare the top of the orange block to the side of the orange block.  The, compare the top of the orange block to the side of the orange block in your painting.  Do relate the top in the set-up to the top in the painting.  Relate within the set-up, then relate within the painting. This is to this as that is to that. The goal is to accurately see the relationships in the set-up.

2.  Check the accuracy of your color spots  by rapidly flicking your eyes back and forth between the same spot in the set up and the same spot in the painting.  Quickly glance back and forth between the top of the orange block in the set-up and the top of the orange block in the painting.  What is lacking in your color spot will rise to the surface.  If your spot needs green, you will see it's lack as you glance back and forth.

So, relate this is to this as that is to that to make your color spots.  Then, relate this to that to check yourself.

Wow, see what I mean ... you need to do this exercise.  Because what you do in it is what you should be doing all of the time when painting from life whatever the subject matter.  This is why you cannot learn about color from photographs.  The photograph is not subtle enough to make distinctions.  It doesn't see them, so you don't see them.

Photographing Your Artwork

I get a lot of questions about how to photograph artwork.  I am far from an expert on the subject. Here is a blog post with a list of links on the subject.  It is from ://the Crafted Webm@ster: Internet Marketing for Artists.  

Authenticity - from Art Marketing Secrets

We have been talking in class about sincerity in our art and to paint what you are passionate about.  This fits right in!

From Art Markeing Secrets:

"The topic of authenticity has been in our attention a lot at Art Marketing Secrets lately. It started with an innocent discussion about why some art feels like decoration and other art truly feels like art. And what is art really anyway?

Well – we could all sit around debating that last point until the cows and the pink elephants come home, but the question of real art vs. decoration and why is one which doesn’t go away.

My opinion is that it’s all about authenticity. It explains to me why it’s possible to have a technically perfect piece of art that leaves me feeling nothing and yet sometimes I see a work that exhilarates me but is lacking in a mastery of the craft. It also explains why some artists can create a truly great piece of art with just a single stroke of a pencil or a few brushstrokes of paint apparently applied quite haphazardly.

Indulge me and I’ll give you my personal view on authenticity. And I didn’t study psychology so be warned!

I think each one of us has a chariot and a team of very powerful horses – just like Charlton Heston’s character in “Ben Hur”. Each of the horses represents a different aspect of our nature and our dreams.

  • Our subconscious program which is often operating on very basic thought processes like survival and pleasure or what our parents or teachers wanted for us.
  • Our conscious thoughts which can be very focused or scattered like autumn leaves.
  • Our emotions which run independently and explore the whole spectrum of pleasure and pain, sometimes from moment to moment.
  • Our physical reality where we are challenged with learning and mastering the actual techniques that can translate all the impulses from those other parts of us onto the canvas or into the clay or glass or metal we work with.

And then, beyond all that noise, standing in our chariot, very calm in the midst of this vortex of experience and activity is the true us – the dreamer of the dream. We had a plan and a purpose for this race but what was it?

Will we remember and take charge of the horses and run the best race? Or will we stay half conscious and let every horse run in its own direction and rip the chariot apart?

When we connect with our true dreams and purpose and master the incredibly powerful team of  horses pulling our chariot we launch forth at maximum speed into a zone where anything is possible and our dreams can pour forth freely into our work.

Its a recipe for creating great art or a true dream or a true life.

What does this have to do with selling art? People can sense authenticity a mile away. It is such a powerful thing to see the work of a person who is truly aligned in their purpose and efforts. Like a big electromagnet, it can attract exactly the right people who will love and purchase your work – if that is your dream.

But all of this is just my thought. What do you think?"

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Rule of Thirds

From The Little Mermaid. I was noticing the focal point, the mouth of the cave is exactly at the intersection of thirds. Why is this a timeless rule. Any focal point at the intersection of thirds will NEVER cut the picture in half. There is either more above or below and more to the right or left. Never the same. By using values the background also uses an "O" composition. Dark at the edges getting lighter until the focal point which is the darkest dark next to the lightest light.

You can bet, though, that when the Little Mermaid is added to the picture she is lighter, has more contrast, more detail and more color than anything in the background. Because she is the real focal point.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Drawing Marilyn Monroe - Jason Baalman

This is another drawing video by Jason Baalman. Time lapse photography reduces the drawing time of one and a half hours to eight minutes. He applies the principles in the earlier videos. When he starts the drawing he focuses on plotting and placement of the large shapes.  Each large shape is created by plotting both vertically and horizontally the points that make up the outline of the shape.  Because he is experienced he does this very quickly. He then fills in the value of the large shapes. He is not thinking about what the shapes are, just the height and width of each shape and its value.  The nose, for instance, is not a nose.  It is the shadow under plane, the halftone side plane and the light front plane.  The planes that face the light remain the white of the paper. He never draws a "nose". As he progresses he breaks the larger shapes into smaller ones, some darker, some lighter by erasing out. He then focuses on edges, blending them out or sharpening them. 

He creates Marilyn Monroe entirely by focusing on the size, placement and value of the shapes with final attention given to the edge between each shape.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Rhythms in Drawing

Animators are trained to draw with rhythms, like we were talking about yesterday with your horse's legs. Look at the rhythm lines of Rafiki ... from arm to arm, leg to leg, torso flowing into the leg. Whatever you are drawing look for a rhythm line and then build onto or cut into it to move it from generic to specific. But start with the rhythm.

By:Walt Disney Animation Studios Look at the circular rhythm created by Rafiki's two arms. If you get that rhythm right you will be able to place the details correctly. Rhythms are everywhere. There are rhythms in the lion's face from one eye across to the other, from one eybrow across to the other ...

By:Walt Disney Animation Studios The rhythm of Rafiki's left arm is a simple "v".  Then the details of the fur are added to it. But, it is a specific "v". Is it a wide or narrow "v" ... you can accurately see what kind of "v" it is if you ask it of yourself. If you look, you can see when it is off. The two questions you ask about shape are ... is it taller or narrower, is it wider or narrower? Ask about a line ... what is the angle? You know the angle of the 60 stops a minute hand makes as it goes around a clock face, so you know the angle of a line, of Rafiki's forearm. You know it!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Value Shapes

To the drawing class, start at about 5 minutes into the video, "Introducing Value Shapes", by Jason Baalman. He is drawing only with shapes of different values and how they relate to each other.  What he is drawing is irrelevant. If the shapes and values are correct, the drawing will be correct. After videos 5A through 5D, he continues breaking the original shapes into smaller and smaller shapes, some darker and some lighter. In video 6P, simply by correctly copying shapes, he ends up with a portrait of a well known public figure whom recognize because the shapes are correct. When you begin to see what you are drawing simply as a pattern of value shapes you will have made the jump to drawing what you see. Any three dimensional subject matter can be converted to two dimensional shapes.

Standard Mat Sizes

Outside Opening
9 x 12"   5.5 x 8.5"
11 x 14" 7.5 x 9.5"
12 x 16" 8.5 x 11.5"
16 x 20" 10.5 x 13.5"
16 x 20" 10.5 x 14.5"   1/4 sheet watercolor paper
16 x 20" 10.5 x 15.5"
19 x 26" 14.5 x 21.5"  1/2 sheet watercolor paper
20 x 24" 15.5 x 19.5"
22 x 28" 17.5 x 23.5"
24 x 30" 18.5 x 24.5" Full sheet drawing, pastel paper

Remember that the paper size should be 1/2" longer for each inner dimension to fit under the mat opening.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I love concept art. The artists really control the values in the foreground, mid-ground and background. They stick to the value range for each to create distance and layering ... like the layers on a stage set. These are gouache - opaque watercolor. It has a special glow no other media has.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Basic Watercolor Palette for Tuesday Afternoon Class

This is the watercolor palette I am currently using.  I recommend students use paints they already have and add to them when they find a gap.  You need a warm and cool of the three primaries, but there are many pigments that meet that requirement.   You will develop a palette that suits you.  I have listed the pigment numbers for the colors on my palette.  All of the pigments are available in the Daniel Smith line.  I have also listed in blue the closest pigment in the Grumbacher Academy line. If you have no paints, start with these ... and move up to the professional line as you replace each color.  The Academy line has permanence issues, but this will not affect the painting exercises ahead of you as a beginning watercolorist.

Double Primary Palette 
  • Bismuth Yellow PY184 or Benzamida Yellow PY175 - cool yellow (Lemon Yellow)
  • Hansa Yellow Medium PY97 - warm yellow (Golden Yellow)
  • Perinone Orange PO43 - warm red (Cadmium Red Light)
  • Anthraquinoid Red PR177 - cool red (Alizarin Crimson)
  • French Ultramarine PB29 - cool blue (Ultramarine Blue)
  • Phthalo Turquoise PB16 - warm blue (Turquoise)
  • Viridian PG18 - cool green (Viridian)

Optional or Occasional Colors
  • Raw Sienna PBr7 (Raw Sienna)
  • Burnt Sienna PBr7 (Burnt Sienna)
  • Burnt Umber PBr7 (Burnt Umber)
  • Cobalt Blue PB28 - true blue with low tinting strength, good for glazing (Cobalt Blue Hue)
  • Quinacridone Rose PV19 - high tinting strength cool red, good for florals (Thalo Crimson)
  • Phthalo Blue PB15 - high tinting strength cool blue, good for mixing darks (Thalo Blue)
  • Phthalo Green PG7 - high tinting strength cool green, good for mixing darks (Thalo Green)
  • Quinacridone Red PR209 - true red (Grumbacher Red)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Twitter Links and Marketing Art

I don't know if any of you are watching my Twitter updates at the bottom of the column to the right on this blog.  I am not tweeting too much except dates for the gallery, etc.  However, I am finding many links on Twitter about marketing art and using social networks to market art.  For those of you who are now hanging in the TVAL Gallery, you might follow up on the links in my RT's (re-tweets).  There is a lot of good information about websites and marketing.  I just RT'd three tweets from Art Marketing Secrets about open studios.  There is a lot of good advice in them for the gallery but also for the class shows and open houses we have been talking about holding.  AMS has an archive of all of their articles on their website.

October Syllabus for the Drawing Class

The plan for October for continuing students is to take all of the tools* you have learned about drawing ... and apply them to a subject of your choice using the dry media of your choice.  Whatever your project, start with comps and design within a design space.  Your subject is not a random object floating in space.  It relates to the four edges of the design space, whether that is a mat or frame.  While designing think in terms of the abstract design created by the dark, medium and light shapes that make up your subject. Remember Papa Bear, Mama Bear, Baby Bear.  One value should be dominant.

Continuing students should also be looking for reference material for the November project.  We will be doing "scribble" drawings.  More on that later. You need black and white family photos.  Choose candid shots with a single light source.  Also look for shots where the person (or persons) are joined to an interesting shape behind them ... a porch railing, a period auto.  We will create vignettes of the person and object within the design space!

If you are unsure about whether the photo has a single light source, use a photo that was taken outdoors.  No flash photos!

For new students, we will continue with line but move from contour drawing to construction and gesture drawing.  I will provide the objects or scrap you will be working from  But, if you would like, bring in a family photo or two and apply these methods to those, too.  

Remember, everything we do is practice!

*What tools, you ask?  Contour, caging, construction, gesture, measuring (plotting), sight lines and plumb lines, perspective and light theory (planes, light , halftone, shadow).  Wow, you've done a lot since February.

The Drawing Class Takes the Contour Challenge!

The Tuesday drawing class and I have taken on the challenge to do 20 minutes of contour drawing a day for one week. At least one drawing should be blind contour.  No peeking!  Bring them to class next week.

Why do we do contour drawing?  Three reasons. One, it develops eye/hand coordination. It focuses you on what you see and not what you think you see. Three, it develops expressive line quality.

To refresh your memory:

Contour Drawing

Drawing is seeing.  If you understand what you see, with practice you will be able to draw it.  Contour drawing will develop eye to hand coordination.  Just like learning a tennis serve, it will take practice, practice, and more practice. 

A contour line explores the perimeter of a shape.  It is not exactly the same as the outline or silhouette, but it may include those.  Move your finger along the outside edge of the fingers on your other hand. Trace around a knuckle.  You are moving your finger along the contours of the opposite hand.  Contour drawing does the same thing, but instead of using your finger to feel the contour, you follow the contour with your eye and imagine your pencil on the paper is doing the same thing.  With practice, what your eye sees, your hand will draw.

In blind contour drawing, look constantly at the object and never at the paper.  Think … my eye moved this distance, my pencil moves the same distance.  If you find it impossible to not look at your paper, throw a towel over the paper and your drawing hand, or put your drawing board on your lap under the table, where you cannot see it.  Do not look at the paper until you have completely finished the drawing.  Don’t worry if you lose your place.  Keep focusing on what you see and letting your pencil follow.  Go very slowly. Imagine your pencil and not your eye is moving along the object.  The finished drawing will be out of proportion with every detail exaggerated.  Good!  The object of the exercise is to practice seeing.  It doesn’t matter what the result it.

Contour drawing is the same as blind contour, except that you look at the paper to check the position of the pencil, the size of something or the direction of a line.  But, NEVER draw while looking at the paper.  When your pencil is moving, your eyes should be on the object.  When you stop to check something and make a correction, your mind will remember.  Your eye, hand and mind are learning to work together.  Concentrate, but don’t feel any pressure about the result.