Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Hans Heysen

Hans Heysen (1877 - 1968) was an Australian artist who painted the arid landscape of the Australian bush country, the cattlemen and drovers. He is remembered for many paintings of the native gum tree. We call them eucalyptus in California. The light in his paintings is full of atmosphere and color. More of his work can be seen here and here.

The first painting is in oil and the second in watercolor, but the color and value choices are similar. Both are high key, light drenched paintings.

The three pencil sketches are a reminder that underneath a painting with loose brushwork, is a careful plan and accurate decisions about what each stroke means.

I am assuming this is a plein air sketch. I like the spontaneity of the brushwork and color choices. He's gathering information. Heyson controls the design and values much more tightly in his studio pieces. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Edouard Manet's Last Flower Paintings

Today in class we had a discussion about painting from life versus painting from photographs. I always encourage students to paint from life whenever possible. You are learning to see color and value. Photographs never have the subtlety and variety of color and value found in real life. I mentioned the last flower paintings of Edouard Manet as an example of small still lifes. They may be small, but the problem solving and creativity required are the same ... color, value, chroma, edges and composition. You will learn more from doing several small still lifes or plein air sketches from life than you will from doing a large, studio painting from a photo. Direct observation from life results in paintings that have veracity and sincerity. The more you paint from life, the more you will be able to overcome the shortcomings of photographs.

Without looking the details up, my recollection is that Manet did a dozen or so small still lifes of flowers that people brought him during his last illness. He painted them in bed.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Tree Thing Continues

The ongoing "sidebar" in class has been to study trees. Last month we worked on eucalyptus and we're still working that patch. I go on location before class every week. Somewhere close to class, within a block or two, to do a plein air sketch. For an hour or so. The paintings are practice. Arrive whatever time you like, but we break by 9:45 a.m. to get to class.

This week's location, courtesy of a screen capture from Google Maps.

The light is flat in these photos. It is much better in the morning before class. Here's a close-up of the magnificent eucalyptus, earlier in the day.

Next week, before class, we will be working some palm trees within walking distance of class. The palms caught my attention because I recently saw a Guy Rose painting of palm trees that reminded me of a few by other artists.

Guy Rose

 Winslow Homer

John Singer Sargent

Claude Monet

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Trees, please!

The assignment for the painting class this week is to choose a tree in your yard or close to your home and do two sketches and a painting.

  • The first sketch is a study of the tree - its structure, shape, branches and sky holes. 
  • The second sketch is a value study of the shapes of the tree and its surrounding. Use only three values; light, medium and dark. Do this in a comp ratio of 3:4.
  • Paint in full color on a 6 x 8" or 9 x 12" canvas. Paint from life. Finish the painting in no more than one hour. The pencil study and the value comp are focused study. The painting is intuitive. Paint without fear. Paint fast. Cover the canvas.

Bring the sketches and painting to class for a group critique. I will bring mine in and do a one hour demo of a tree in class.