Sunday, May 25, 2008

Lost Horse Lake

I have been working on this painting, titled "Lost Horse Lake" for the past several days. As I have been studying the classical methods, I thought I would also post my sketch work that reveals some of the underlying grid and placement of major lines.

I've been working in the smaller 16 x 20 format lately. At first, it was a struggle to reduce the proportions from my favored 22 x 28 format. Even though both sizes have the same ratio aspect, I did have to go back to the underlying patterns to get the correct "fit."

For example, with a 16 x 20, the golden ratio indicates grid lines at about 7.5/12.5 and 9.5/6.5 to divide the space harmoniously. I placed my grid lines in the above sketch at these divisions, with a dominate arrangement counterbalanced by a secondary arrangement.

I also paid more attention to the contrasts of hue/intensity/value in the color work. I am finally gaining some understanding about "edge work" - which not only refers to the quality of edges on the major shapes (ie: hard, soft, lost, etc) but also the edges of the painting, and how to gradate the color intensity to move the eye in and around the composition.

I did use an inspiration photo:

This is a man made lake just west of where I live. Because it doesn't have a natural inflow and outlet, the water is extremely calm and allows for perfect reflections. I utilized information but created a painting that is original and different. I remember an artist who was giving a lecture once said that his paintings did not reflect his photographs, but could not be created without them. I could say the same about this painting.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Study Habits

I have been going "back to school" in a way, returning to my books and resources to find direction. There are no shortcuts: I've learned that you need to sketch or paint every day to improve your skills.

Here are a few of the resources I have recently discovered that focus on realism:

  • Mastering Composition by Ian Roberts
  • Classical Drawing Atelier by Juliette Aristides
  • Classical Painting Atelier by Juliette Aristides

My primary art education focused on the abstract, and the Elements work (seen above) has been very well received. Abstract uses some of the same foundational principles as does Realism, but I am finding that there are definite skills that I'd like to develop in order for my paintings to speak as clearly as I wish.