I always learn something when watching another painter. Maybe I just see a tool or a technique that I can claim for my own or modify in some way. Perhaps some of these little videos will give you ideas for your own work. I have to say that I used to hate painting outdoors. I became confused and the results were generally sub-standard. When I started treating plein air as a minor event with lower expectations I began to better understand my motivation and to pick up on the spirit. A curiously satisfying activity.
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A tribute, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is "a thing said, done or given as a mark of respect." When you think of it, all of nature and a great deal of what mankind has done are worthy of tribute. Further, when you consider appreciation of beauty or history or even the possibility of life enhancement, our art takes on greater meaning and more power.
Last week I was trying to advise a young lady who wanted to break loose from the landscape persuasion. "It's not even me," she said, holding up a tree. "I want to do something fun, imaginative, whimsical, goofy, cuckoo." Cuckoo, I told her, is serious business. Introducing incongruity, surprise and nuttiness is not easy.
"The Nude as Landscape" came about in a normal studio session. The painting was conceived as a figure study, in acrylic on canvas, but as the work proceeded the landscape-like contours of the human body suggested a broader landscape. The female figure became surrounded in air as well as light, and a new idea was born. This "second-generation" thinking happens when normal orders of procedure are reversed, causing new angles to be discovered.
Several days ago in the Queen Charlotte Islands I was faced with a particularly flat day. Overcast and grey, it wasn't even foreboding. Not much was wrong with the small canvas I painted down on the beach, but during the windup strokes I realized it needed something more. Changing the light is a painter's prerogative. Remembering the sunset of the previous evening--and the rain squalls passing through it--I thought, "Why not?"
Sara and I were guided above Lake O'Hara to a remote ridge known to the "Opabin Shale-Splitters." This was where MacDonald and his friends painted in the summers of 1924 to 1930. We could well see the appeal. Patterns of rock and snow in all directions. Light. Shadow. Atmosphere. Dramatic mountains all around. Lots of places to sit.
I needed to get out of the studio. We jumped in the car and disappeared into the local forest. I set up and made a little painting while Michelle set up and made a little movie. " Forest Spirit " is another of those Shoulder Clips that we have shown you before , but this one is in real time, a bit languorous and laid back. For her first flick, I think she caught the feeling. It takes six minutes.
A painter needs to think of the orderly processing of areas. As much as possible one should work from large areas to small, more or less setting up to hold these areas with negative areas. While doing this, keep in mind some elements of a painting cannot be handled this way, and must be painted topically. The artist should give a few minutes of thought before diving in. The idea is to decide on the approximate order in which the various elements are to be processed.
Art Videos I Recommend
The following are some videos I have been introduced to and reviewed that I feel are helpful for artists. Please click through to their websites for further details.
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