Sunday, 31 January 2016

“Expressive Portraits” by Jean Pederson

After going on about getting to Chapter 3 in ‘Ways to Learn Acrylics’, it’s kinda funny that I’m switching gears and blogging about a different book. Don’t worry, later blogs will be about acrylics from Chapter 3.

Next week in all three of my art classes we are studying portraiture, so it’s the perfect time to try exercises in “Expressive Portraits” by Jean Pederson. The artist's portraits are really wonderful; they are mixed media, painterly type portraits that use vivid colours. Her book is pretty comprehensive. It explains all the things a beginning artist would need to know about drawing/painting a portrait; it also shows you the methods Jean uses. I’ve done a few exercises to try and learn more about watercolour portraits.

One exercise ‘practice wet glazing’ I did twice; on the left the portrait was painted on textured watercolour paper 300gsm 10” x 7” inches and on the right on Khadi paper 8” x 8”. It’s funny that both paintings are of the same woman but they look totally different. They aren’t perfect but it was fun to have a go and not be too precious about the results. All my art teachers say that by experimenting you learn.

Another exercise ‘build a background of rich, varied darks' isn’t completed, but I like the way it looks without all the dark colours. It certainly doesn't look as good as Jean's first step, but I'm not that accomplished... maybe someday:)

Also, there were some pretty cool YouTube watercolour portrait painting videos. Here are two awesome ones:
Lesson 16 / Painting the Portrait by Stan Miller
Watercolor step by step how to paint portrait, demo by Zimou Tan

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Painting Project No. 18 from 'Ways to Learn Acrylics' - Abstract

Project number 18 ‘Layering a simple abstract design: Yellow circles’ is the last painting before Chapter 3 in ‘Little Ways to Learn Acrylics: 50 small painting projects..." by Mark Daniel Nelson.

The abstract was done on mixed media paper as in painting no 15, but this time 3 layers of gesso was used to prime the paper. The gesso made the paint glide easily across the paper. Per the instructions, circles were painted first and the blue background was added after. The results left white edges where the circles met the background.

In another painting not shown I tried a light yellow background before painting the circles…it didn’t make much difference. There were still spaces between the circles and background. There were now light yellow spaces, it was hard enough drawing circles freehand so I abandoned the painting:(.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Painting Project No. 16 & 17 from 'Ways to Learn Acrylics' - Trees

With only three more till Chapter 3, I’m posting two projects from ‘Little Ways to Learn Acrylics: 50 small painting projects..." by Mark Daniel Nelson.

Project number 16 ‘Layering opaque over transparent: Summer tree’ was a fun exercise…gotta love trees. The first layers looked great and I almost stopped there, but the exercise was about layering so I kept going.

Project number 17 ‘Layering over an under-painting: Tree silhouette’ was fun as well and I expect to be using this technique more. I already have a bunch of ideas for it; tried a Venice silhouette but it didn’t come out well. Will try another silhouette painting soon:)).

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Painting Project No. 15 from 'Ways to Learn Acrylics'

‘Light, shadow and value outdoors: Road and grass’ was project 15 in “Little Ways to Learn Acrylics: 50 small painting projects..." by Mark Daniel Nelson. The lesson was a good one, the picture, not so nice. According to Mark, "keeping relationships consistent is the key to representing convincing light and shadow patterns in your paintings". So the shade for the shadow on the grass is darker than it is on the pavement.

Because the example in the book was so unremarkable, I painted it on less expensive mixed media paper. It was surprising how nice the paper was, much better than my acrylic paper. The acrylic paper has lines that show through paintings, even when two coats of gesso are applied. The mixed media paper works well on its own, but I’m going to try it with gesso next time.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Painting Project No. 14 from 'Ways to Learn Acrylics'

Project 14 in ‘Little Ways to Learn Acrylics: 50 small painting projects..." by Mark Daniel Nelson was ‘Rendering objects with simple shapes: Slice of cake’. I practiced drawing the cake on cartridge paper then put it on canvas. After adding paint, the cake shape didn’t look right, so I used masking tape to change the lines.

It's too hard to get the frosting perfect so I decided to let some show through on the cake layers. The final result is average; perspective looks off and the cake slice doesn't look like it’s sitting on the table. Getting closer to Chapter 3:)).

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Painting Project No. 13 from 'Ways to Learn Acrylics'

Most paintings in ‘Little Ways to Learn Acrylics: 50 small painting projects..." by Mark Daniel Nelson I like. ‘Layering cool over warm colours: Barn and pasture’ was not one of them. The example in the book had yellow ochre in the foreground showing through and unconvincing trees next to the barn. I tried using more green for the grass and less black in the trees, but still didn’t’ like the painting. My unbleached titanium may not be the same shade because my mixed colours looked too dark. To make things lighter I added titanium white with gloss medium and put a layer of it all over the painting.

I did a quick abstract of the same subject on acrylic paper and tried to use a pallet knife but it didn't work. Instead I used a brush and spray bottle to soften things and liked the results. Not my finest work but I’m learning a lot about colour and technique; five more and I’ll get to start Chapter 3:))

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Painting Project No. 12 from 'Ways to Learn Acrylics'

Painting no 12 'Textured layering: Colour field abstract' from "Little Ways to Learn Acrylics: 50 small painting projects..." by Mark Daniel Nelson was easily done. I could have put in more effort and made multiple paintings, but I’m on a mission to get through this book by next month…no dilly dallying. For this project, only the colours were slightly changed as compared to the example in the book. Will explore this exercise more in the future :))

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Painting Project No. 10 & 11 from 'Ways to Learn Acrylics'

With my new found confidence, I’m focused on painting from ‘Little Ways to Learn Acrylics: 50 small painting projects to get you started" by Mark Daniel Nelson more frequently. To prove my commitment and move swiftly to Chapter 3 ‘Beyond Basics’, I’m posting two paintings today.

Project number 10 ‘Mixing tints and shades: Red Poppy’ took longer than expected; on my first try the poppy looked too small and square. The results were much better when I remixed the same shades of cadmium red and made the poppy larger. My only criticism is the area around the stem, but didn’t want to ruin the beautiful background trying to fix it.

Project number 11 ‘Painting negative space: Red Shoe’ was not easy and required a lot of layers to get things right. Even though there were many things that irritated me about the painting, I compelled myself not to over work it. Don’t think I like negative painting :(.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Keep Painting and Artistic Syle Will Come

After suffering an artistic crisis of confidence over the last few days I decided to go to my favourite place…You Tube. Lisa from Lachri Fine Arts showed up in my search along with someone I wasn’t familiar with, Shoo Rainer.

Lisa's main points were:
Your style will come in time.  Just keep working and doing what you love… one day you will have that ah ha moment. But remember when you do find your style, don’t be complacent because you should always strive to be better.

In his video
Mr. Rayner described artists in the past who would work for 7 years under a master artist. Then, if lucky, they would go on a journey and visit other places and artists, all while producing new work.

Today we have YouTube, books, t.v., internet and libraries, which makes learning easy. Just keep drawing/painting and know who you are; become an expert in what medium you choose. Paint with passion and drive… your style will come. There will be hurdles but you need to keep working. People who do survive and become famous also have doubt but they keep pushing to keep moving forward practicing and honing their skills.

Both vloggers had great points. It's worth watching the videos yourself because you might take away something more than what I summarized. After watching these videos, I went down to my art table and started painting. Hope this helps and forget dancing…KEEP PAINTING!!!

Thursday, 7 January 2016

‘Vibrant Acrylics’ 7th Painting Exercise – Abstract Landscape

This landscape exercise in ‘Vibrant Acrylics’ by Hashim Akib was the most difficult for me to date. The colours and composition in Hashim’s painting were somehow difficult for me to apply. This painting was on my easel for over a month and although I reworked sections, I was still not happy with it.

In a moment of clarity or craziness, I decided to try a smaller version on acrylic paper. Disappointed with the brushwork again... I took out my pallet knife and created something prettier than my first version. Can’t wait to start the next painting in the book and hope I have better success.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Painting Project No. 9 from 'Ways to Learn Acrylics'

Happy New Year everyone. I spent time drawing and practising paintings for next year's Christmas cards. I think I have a few good ideas :) If you are looking for a good art book,  I absolutely recommend "Little Ways to Learn Acrylics: 50 small painting projects to get you started" by Mark Daniel Nelson.

Project number 9 ‘Simple reflections: Sailing boat’ came out better than expected. The colours the author recommended were not vibrant enough for me so I changed them. As ever, my perspective on the boat isn’t the same as the example. It took me longer than usual to complete this, but I am happy with the results. I hope to get through the next nine paintings quicker so I can start Chapter 3 in the book, which is titled ‘Beyond Basics’.