Today I resolved to finish the exercises in this workshop. I skipped several because I felt they were too fundamental and I already had experience with the subjects selected for the exercises. I want to get back to painting subjects that I am passionate about. Be that wrong or right, I had 2 more subjects I wanted to tackle, painting clear glass holding water and painting colored glass.
This is the set up for the clear glass jar.
The clear glass was a mason jar without any embossing on it and the colored glass was a beer bottle my husband so helpfully emptied and cleaned the label off. I used the suggested colors for the clear glass on the sides of the set up box and found it was very intriguing to paint all the colors that were there. The glass was filled halfway with water as an added lesson – painting water. I noticed that the colors shifted depending on which eye I was looking out of. That made me commit to using one eye’s view and was a lot easier from then on. I used the bigger palette knife I’d been using throughout this workshop but switched to a worn out, tiny pointed one I found in my paint box. I think it turned out satisfactory. I read Stern’s text and was able to evaluate what I painted to see if it met the criteria set for success.
This is the set up for the clear glass painting.
I decided to use brushes instead of a palette knife in the last exercise of painting a colored bottle. The exercise was in the section of additional projects after you finish the exercises.
This is the set up for the clear colored glass painting.
I liked how the brown colored bottle was set on orange colored paper that coordinated well with the bottle’s colors. I used the complimentary color of orange, blue, for one of the walls. I used black for the other because I felt it would adsorb a lot of the reflected light from the floor and other wall, not reflect a lot of color and light back on the bottle or other surfaces and not be as distracting as another color. I enjoyed painting with a brush. I used 2 brushes, a big, #14, brush and a smaller, #6, brush plus the palette knife to do the mixing and a bit of the painting on the larger background areas. I am happy with my results.
This is the completed colored glass painting – an empty beer bottle.
In this workshop I learned a few things. I thought a list to be a good way to lay them out, so here goes.
- I have the fortitude to follow through on a project that became boring and tedious part of the way through.
- I learned to refine my eye to see color that is really there.
- I gained confidence with my color “seeing”
- I am more confident in being able to transfer the little lessons I learned to my Plein Air painting. One example: I can use the skills from painting glass to transfer to painting water.
- I know I don’t like painting with a palette knife as I had wondered if that was another way to express myself.
In this series my goal is to refine my eye and brain to get along to see color and not be taken by what my left side of my brain tells me. Recalling “Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain” by Edwards, I remember that my left side, the logical side, tells me that all eggs are white, all crows are black. But the right side, the artistic side, tells me that the egg is multi colored, dependent on the shadows, reflected light, etc. And the crow can be blue black or even have golden highlights in its eye. Reconciling these thought patterns is always a stumbling block that sometimes succumbs even the most seasoned artist. This DIY workshop of mine has really helped drive that notion home.
This is the set up for the metal pan.
Today I painted a little metal pan. Boring to be sure and not my idea of a stimulating morning in the studio. But I persevered and made myself sit down and get out the paints. I think my biggest annoyance is using a palette knife to paint with. Mine are old, worn out and large. I keep seeing small patches of color and have a hard time placing the paint properly. Stern states the reason for a palette knife is to place sections of color next to each other and not blend paint. That way you can really see the different colors and learn from their relationships to each other. I was surprised how easy the metal was to paint. I wasn’t really worried about having a problem painting that but it was a snap to get it to look “real”. I also have found that my realistic impressionism style is being challenged to get put away for a while during my workshop.
This is the completed metal pan painting.
This blog is a report of the continuation of my workshop “How to See Color and Paint it” by Arthur Stern.
Set up and painting
2 colored cube
The next exercise involved painting another cube, white, but this one had a rectangle of black in the center of each face. The walls and floor of the set-up box changed color. Again, its designed to get the artist’s eye to see all the colors there, not just the ones that you think are there, like “white” or “black”. It reminded me of Kevin Mcpherson’s book “Fill Your Oil Paintings With Light and Color” when he talks about finding the spots of color in the landscape.
After that exercise, I hung up a white cloth with different color sheets of construction paper in the set-up box. The light source also moves around for each exercise. This one was the most challenging so far. I am not having a hard time finding the colors but finding patience to do the exercises.
Set up for white cloth painting
I keep saying to myself that I could be doing something else, something that has real value. Such as painting a subject that I love and could also possibly sell. I’m thinking that I am wasting not only time but money on the cheap paints I bought when I could have bought a lovely tube of some color that I have been coveting. Our brains really like to sabotage us when we are inserting change! Its really interesting.
Here is a continuation of my workshop “How to See Color and Paint it” by Arthur Stern.
TP roll and the colors I really saw (not counting the glare from the flash)
The next exercise was painting a roll of toilet paper. Very classy, ha ha ha. But it was to see that white is not always white. Of course I knew that but I am approaching this as a re-learning project and with an open mind. It only required Statement 1.
The next few exercises were painting colored cubes with changes of the color of paper on the walls and floor in the set-up box walls. They required Statement 1 only. I am trying not to get bored but at least the paintings went fairly fast, just a few hours each.
The set-up box painting
The first exercise in my workshop “How to See Color and Paint it” by Arthur Stern was using the set-up box, It was pretty simple. It just involved painting the set-up box with 3 different sheets of construction paper clipped in place. It wasn’t very exciting and I think because I am always looking at color when I paint it went really easy. I find that when I am driving around going somewhere I look at the colors of the landscape and name them in paint colors. An example would be when I look at the shadow of the snow along the roadside, I say, “Hey that is Ultramarine blue in that ditch. And the sunny snow has Cadmium Yellow Lemon along the top mixed with a touch of purple (hum that would be Ultramarine blue and Red Iron Oxide mixed together with a lot of Titanium white) right under that spot.” I hope the exercises get more challenging.
The next exercise in “How to See Color and Paint it” by Arthur Stern was to paint an orange. I had a Mandarin orange in the fridge so I set to it! I did Statement 1 for this painting. I think it accomplished what it was supposed to do, show me the planes of color in a simple manner.
Orange painting with the orange.
I have started a new self-improvement project. I am going through the exercises in a book recommended to me by Jill Soukup called “How to See Color and Paint it” by Arthur Stern.
I started by reading the whole book. Then I set about to get all the things I needed to go through the book and do the exercises. That involved buying paints and canvas paper, constructing a little set-up box, buying a few inexpensive supplies and making some shapes. I also had to dig around in my cabinets for things to go in the still life set-ups.
I look at it like attending a workshop, only the instructor is the book and there are not any other students. I am glad I can muster the discipline to follow through with projects like these. Of course I do like to take a break and get on a mule for an afternoon, too.
Me on Foley, its cold out but not too bad.
Each exercise involves painting a set up in the three-sided box. In each exercise you do either 1, 2 or 3 “statements” for each painting. Statement 1 is just flat planes of color in general. Statement 2 expands on that and adds a few more areas of color within Statement 1. Statement 3 involves finding many patches of color to paint. The paintings are exercises and not “masterpieces”. Use of a palette knife instead of brushes makes it a bit more challenging, especially since my palette knives have seen better days but I didn’t want to get new ones because I basically forgot to get them when I got the student grade oil paint. Palette knife use also is there to keep me from blending the colors. Which happens anyhow, some how I just am a bit messy with the edges of things.
The very first exercise I did in this book was to make a color chart. Its a lot like the color charts that Richard Schmid has in his book, Alla Prima. But no where as complex. So I was up for that!
Here is my color chart.
Below is one page from Schmid’s book:
Sketches are the structure on which I base almost all of my paintings.
Wild Horse Crossing Campground
I love to do sketches, even if they are tiny small thumbnail ones, of a painting before I begin.
Moses Lake baseball field, WA
So I sketch a lot.
Big Southern Butte, from Crators of the Moon National Monument, Idaho
I’ve included some sketches I did while on our trip through 5 states earlier this month.
Firehold Canyon Campground view, Flaming Gorge, WY
St Xavier, en Plein Air Oil, 8″ x 10″
San Xavier (A-Vear) is a mission south of Tucson, AZ. Ansel Adams made it famous in his photos he did mid 20th century. I painted it en Plein Air when I was at the Plein Air conference in April 2016. It has been accepted to the exhibition: “Wish You Were Here”. It is a national juried exhibit of art that focuses on Southwestern Arizona. The show opens July 29 through August 28, 2016.
I know some artists who don’t like the public to see their unfinished works. Its supposed to convey a sense of professionalism to only display the finest and finished products and leave the public in a state of mysterious awe and wonderment. But I like for people to follow the drama, work, soul and transformation that a painting goes through before the artist (me) deems it complete.
In that vein of thought, I am showing a couple of my unfinished paintings I did while on my plein air slash camping trip through Nevada, Oregon, Washington, back through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and finally back in Colorado. The first one is a little creek, Clear Creek, in the Malhuer National Forest. It was along a road to a state park. Weather was clear and temps were mild, perfect!
The next one is of Silver Peak just north of Ketchum near Easely hot springs. Again a great day, slight breeze, cool temps, sunny with some fluffy clouds chasing by. Enjoy!
Clear Creek, work in progress
Silver Peak, work in progress
Tova, riding in a crazy oversized wagon in Oregon, on the trail of course.
On our way through Oregon, we camped at Malheur National Forest on the South Fork of the Burnt River. So did a whole town of people on OHV’s and in RV’s with loud generators. I did a little sketching of the trees as lots were over 100 feet tall.
Clear Creek in the Malheur National Forest, Oregon.
In the morning we headed out to look for a quiet spot where I could paint and a wide shoulder where Allen could ride his bicycle. I managed a nice painting of some cows in a flower filled field and a creek in the morning.
Tova, guarding the cattle guard and the Plein Air gear.
After an early lunch, I did another painting of some young Douglas Fir trees. I even managed to rig up an auto sun shade on my Strada easel which worked very nicely.
Painting in the Malheur National Forest.
The auto sun shade in action on my Strada mini.
Thanks to Kim Casebeer for the tips on that one! Tomorrow we are on our way to our friends house in Wenatchee, Washington and more Plein Air painting.