Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Francisco de Zurbaran Study

My value study is at stage 2 now, I have softened the values placed side by side on the first photo. Ron thought I could finish this in a class, but I am here to tell you, I don't think that happened. Oh my gosh, when I left his studio 6 hours after having walked in, my brain was literally buzzing. I could not bear to listen to the radio, it was hard to enter back into the left brain that i guess we all live in. Ron told us that if we kept talking to ourselves that we should listen to audiobooks to quiten our inner voice, that may lead to better painting experiences. I am not sure I was doing that but maybe I'll take my iPhone ear buds next time and listen to a spoken word book to see what happens. There was a lot of people in different throes of pain, including me, that were talking. I have found, when I start getting frustrated with painting, when I probably am beginning to learn a technique, I want to go home! Man, I wanted to go home a bunch yesterday. It was PAIN! Why is it so hard to paint? Why is it sometimes so hard to learn? I know it requires discipline, that is something I am in short supply, so I'm at it again trying to learn. So, this is a study originally painted by Francisco de Zurbaran titled St. Francis, of course, this is the St. Francis of Assissi fame. He painted this in 1660. Now, he painted in color but I am doing a study of values so Ron has me painting in value tones. To see the original, go here:

My picture is the second one and the first one was painted by de Zurbaran. Hopefully I will get the pictures in order this time...ha ha, i didn't. Perhaps after posting for a while, I will figure it out! Mine has a bit of a shine from the camera phone flash, gotta figure out how to stop that from happening or edit it out? Notice his nose...there is a pretty big difference in the 2 pics there and there are several other differences that I will have to struggle with over the next class to fix, but I'm on my way. I just need to figure out what to do to practice every day now. I asked Ron but if he told me, I swear I forgot. I thought of downloading another image of St Francis and painting it in black and white painted by de Zurbaran. He is one of my favorite saints, in fact I have a statue of him in my garden outside and my doggie wears a St Francis medal.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

oh my gosh

its been so long since i posted that i could not figure out how to edit the previous here are the pics, first the value strip and the 3 pics of value paintings i have done. the last one is going to get three treatments before it is finished, more to come on tuesday as i delve deeper in my class with Ron...Oh, I am taking these classes at Ronald Bayens Art School in Auburn Al. I think he does not call it an Art School, those are my words, I am unsure of the name, let you know next week. I will be working with him for 5 hrs each week as of this coming tuesday. okay, i uploaded them out of order. promise i will be better next time...the first should be 4th, the second should be 3rd, the 3rd should be 2nd and the 4th should be 1st...confusing? ha ha, me too. oh and if you are wondering about the monks white eye! i could not finish and i can not take images home with me, so since i could not think to take a pic on my cell phone, im gonna finish it up on tues...hairbrain!


Painting is all about value...dark against light and light against dark. We study value to learn how to show the volume of an object, to show the space that is occupied by this object. We need to show where on a two dimensional plane a three dimensional object lies. I'm starting my studies again by studying the value scale. Like learning to play the piano, artists use a numerical value system to describe value. My first day I made a value strip of nine mixtures between black to white. What was most difficult was trying to match the greys. Mix black whic equals 9 and white which equals 1 together to get a value of 5. Mix the 5 with white to get a 3, mix the 5 with black to get a 7. Then take the 3 and mix with white to get a 2 and mix the 3 with 5 to get a 4. Then you mix the 7 with black to get an 8 and mix the 7 with the 5 to get a 6. Sound easy? Oh no, first you discover you did not mix enough 5 for all the mixes needed to get the other mixtures AND have enough for a decent size puddle to paint with. Then what you think looks right in your puddles don't really have enough contrast with their neighbors when painted side by side to make a strip of values from 1-9.

After that painful experience, paint three pictures using only 5 values of paint, the first study was very simple images. But you need to show differences in value to just make forms recognizable for what they are. Hard again to see differences in value. We have a trick, cut a hole In White paper and squint down and compare to your value strip. Assign values and paint.

I will have to send my image to email, save to computer and upload cause I did not try to see how to upload from phone!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

New Lesson

Ever wonder why the things you try don't turn out so well the first time around? Ever notice that the more you work with something, the easier it gets? Ever notice that the more you study the something you are working on the better you get at what it is you are doing? Life seems to work the same way that art works as well. You struggle, struggle; work; work...bad outcomes. You keep on struggling and working for more bad outcomes. Finally, instead of giving up when it is painful, you try to do it because of sheer frustration and stubborness.
This happened to me at Calloway Gardens this past Friday while I was painting with my friend Brenda. She wanted to paint the Pioneer Log Cabin. I was just along for the ride, so I sat down and started to draw. OH MY GOSH! We started at 10am and at 2:30pm, I left without a painting but with a drawing.
I became so uncomfortable with the prospect of drawing the log cabin that every thing I tried, seemed to look whacky. Perspective is a horrible concept to wrap your mind and hand around when out in the field. I have had enough lessons, thank you Cindy Mask and others to at least know what I should be doing and that is MEASURING, establishing a base unit and going from there. But, do you think that I did that at first? NO! It was after 2 or 3 failed attempts that I decided to do it the way I was taught that I finally found myself with a drawing that was coming together! I could not believe what I was doing.
Well, I liked what I was doing so much, I abandoned the idea of painting and dragged out my Rapidograph pen and filled in pencil lines with beautiful opaque, waterproof india ink! I had the best time. I was cheering myself on, talking to myself and having a good but tiring time.
My picture is submitted to the world to see. Okay, don't get excited, it is primitive, but it is a start and a new lesson for me. I keep hearing in my head, work at drawing, work at drawing, you will paint much better if you do. That is the constant mantra of all painting instructors. There is no shortcut in art and boys and girls, it works that way in life as well.
There is a reason for discomfort in your life. It tells you there is a lesson attached. Running away from the discomfort takes you away from the pain, but you will constantly have to confront it again and again until you start to work on the lesson. Don't fear the lesson...start to work.
Here is my drawing and a louzy cell phone image of the pioneer cabin.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cades Cove

This is a painting that I just finished with in my weekly art class. We work from photos and sometimes non-copywrited material. I get some photos from Wet Canvas, they have a huge reference library of free photos to work with. This took roughly 6 lessons to do. I learned a new technique on this one, we used a sponge to paint in the trees and splattered some of the small close flowerbuds in the foreground. When the picture was finished, I felt like something else was needed, so we added from imagination a little structure.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Plein Air Auburn

Today we went to Town Creek Park. It was overcast, so the sun only came out a couple of times, long enough to find the deep shadows to put into the painting. I struggled with the weeping willow. By the time I was finished, I felt like weeping, but I realize that without the struggle, I won't ever learn anything. This was my first plein air with oils. I forgot to take a pallet with me and had to use a garbage bag to squeeze out my paints on. Thankfully that worked. For the first time I realize, that each of these times I work on something new, I learn. So, I may get off on my own some as well. I hope you enjoy.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Still Life for painting class

Today I took some stuff to do a still life for my painting class. I decided that I would start painting more from life and get Cheeko's help during class to that end. I started setting up the objects I brought, and learned a lot about placement. I shot many set ups and decided to paint this arrangement. I realized after getting into the painting that I could not accurately convey that I had a vase, pitcher and apple. I think you would agree that I accurately painted the pitcher and the apple but the vase looks like a book? A purple brick? A what??? I suppose if I had chosen a view that looked down on the image more, that vase would look more vase like, but since it was tall, all I could see at eye level was the top and not inside the vase. Should I have cheated and drawn and painted the inside of the squared vase?? I don't is just practice. But it was fun cause I got it done with help from Cheeko in 2 hrs.

Tomorrow I will be painting en plein air at Town Creek Park with the Plein air Auburn group. Hope I can show you what I did.